--February 27, 2017.
The Ville de Métis-sur-Mer is now the proud owner of the Pointe-Mitis lighthouse and its outbuildings. Stéphane Marcheterre, director general of the Ville de Métis-sur-Mer, confirmed that the Ville signed the notarial documents on November 28, 2016, with the government of Canada. He added that the grants of $100,000 for the maintenance of the buildings and $50,000 for the removal of the mercury from the lighthouse tower are being transferred to the Ville.
The lighthouse was deemed surplus to navigation in the 1970s and is one of several lighthouses along the St. Lawrence and other coasts to be sold under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act. The acquisition was initiated in 2010 by Heritage Lower St. Lawrence (HLSL) and the Association des résidents de la Pointe-du-Phare (ARPP), a local citizens group. It required several years of negotiations between the Ville and the government of Canada in order to finally purchase the lighthouse, lighthouse keeper’s house, garage and foghorn building. To complete the transaction, the government designated the Pointe-Mitis lighthouse a “heritage lighthouse” in July 2016, recognizing its special characteristics and unique history.
Now that the transaction is complete, the Ville will finalize a long-term lease with ARPP for management of the site. Ladd Johnson, ARPP president, was delighted by the news. “After waiting so long, we are eager to put our plans into action,” he stated, adding, “we are looking forward to working with the Ville and the community to make the site accessible while maintaining its esthetic and scientific value.”
Alexander Reford, who wrote with Paul Gendron The Metis Lighthouse and Le Phare de Métis to document the history of the lighthouse and highlight its importance, added, “I am thrilled that the efforts of the community stretching back more than twenty years have come to fruition. The lighthouse is now designated and protected. Under the ownership of the Ville and the active stewardship of the ARPP, its future is assured. The community should congratulate itself for initiating and supporting this project - the Ville has shown its commitment to protect its maritime and built heritage by becoming the new owner of this unique site and buildings.”
HLSL organized an on-site event in 2009 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the lighthouse, created the Metis Lighthouse web site and published the books to tell the story of the lighthouse. It also led the effort to petition to the government to protect the lighthouse, collecting over 1000 signatures.
The ARPP, under the spirited leadership of long-time Metis resident Barry James, developed the business plan and led efforts to collect donations and pledges from community members to reassure the Ville that residents were behind the initiative. These funds will contribute to the restoration of the lighthouse tower and renovation of the lighthouse keeper’s house for vacation rentals.
Now that the acquisition is complete, the ARPP is planning to continue its fundraising efforts to ensure the preservation of the buildings. A new federal grant program that matches private contributions will make donations go even farther.
Those wishing to contribute to the preservation and restoration of the lighthouse can make a donation by following the instructions at www.savemetislighthouse.org/pledgedonate.html.
To learn more about the lighthouse and the project to preserve it, visit www.metislighthouse.ca/ and www.savemetislighthouse.org. For further information, please contact Ladd Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org).