Local Residents Rally to Save Historic Lighthouse in Port Royal
Port Royal, N.S., November 10, 2022 -- The future of Port Royal’s historic lighthouse shone bright once again, as the local community rallied around efforts to save the iconic structure. Residents filled the Lower Granville community hall to pledge their support to repair and restore the Schafner Point Lighthouse. “Our founding board members have been working 14 months to get to this point. All of our energy and effort was worth it,” says Medea Holtz, president of the Port Royal Lighthouse Association (PRLA).
In October, the group took over ownership of the Port Royal Lighthouse from the Annapolis Heritage Society. “We couldn’t go by Schafner Point every day and see the lighthouse wrapped in Typar and silently rotting away. We had to act,” says Holtz. Built in 1885, the Schafner Point Lighthouse, also known as the Port Royal Lighthouse, is one of six lighthouses in Annapolis County, and the oldest surviving lighthouse on the Annapolis Basin. It is still an active light, maintained by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
The lighthouse is in desperate need of repair, and renewed attempts to save it began more than a year ago, when community members began rallying support through social media. The packed public meeting held on November 9 firmly demonstrated that people are eager to get involved. Attendees signed up to help with fundraising, offered to host lobster suppers, handle catering for a dinner theatre, produce a play, and donate valuable items to be auctioned.
When local residents Richard Morrison and Chad Cronin offered to donate timber to be milled in the Morrison mill in nearby Karsdale, the mood in the room turned electric. Lumber from the same mill was likely used in the original lighthouse construction in 1885. “One of the largest material costs is the wood. We need to replace all four corner posts and the sheathing, rotten trim around the windows, catwalk boards and entry stairs. This contribution is significant,” says Allan Holtz, the board member coordinating the repairs and restoration. In 2019 an estimate for the entire project was $89,000 plus HST. With combined pledges of materials and some labour supplied by volunteers, the money needed to complete the restoration will be greatly reduced.
Anyone wanting to join the effort to save the lighthouse is encouraged to visit the group’s Facebook page, donate through the Gofundme campaign “Save the Port Royal Lighthouse,” or visit the PRLA’s website at www.PortRoyalLighthouse.ca.
For more information or to arrange media interviews, contact Medea Holtz at (902) 955-1955 or by email at PortRoyalLighthouseAssociation@gmail.com.