Sunday, January 15, 2012

Group seeks to save Panmure Island Lighthouse

From the Guardian Website:

The Guardian Newspaper
Published on January 15, 2012 by Steve Sharratt
     She grew up in its shadow, so Glenna Peardon is leading the charge to help develop a community group to take over and operate the Panmure Island lighthouse. With her are supporters Merrill Condon, left, and husband Bill Peardon.

PANMURE ISLAND – A community group is rallying to save one of P.E.I.’s most iconic lighthouses from heading to the auction block.
     The Panmure Island lighthouse, a beacon here for almost 160 years that has graced the covers of provincial tourism guides and dozens of Island promotional photographs of Prince Edward Island, is up for grabs.
     “We want to make sure it stays in community hands,’’ says Glenna Peardon, who grew up in the shadow of the 58-foot tower. “It’s part of our heritage and we want to preserve it for future generations.”
     Peardon spent much of her childhood on the island, connected by a causeway, with the Creed girls and their father George who operated the light from just after the war until he retired. She’s rallying to develop a community group hoping to acquire the structure that dates back to 1853.
     “George would let us climb the five flights of stairs with him when he would go to the top to light the light and he allowed us to go outside to marvel at the view,” said Peardon. “My family and many other people still climb the stairs and if our lighthouse is taken over privately, no one will have access to this simple pleasure anymore.”
     Like the Panmure site, other lighthouses around the province are being decommissioned from the federal government and being offered to private buyers. Deadline is this spring.
     Panmure Lighthouse was the first wooden lighthouse on P.E.I. and the octagonal structure guided vessels into the Three Rivers system of the Montague, Cardigan and Brudenell Rivers.
     “This is a part of history we have to step up to and be proud to maintain as a community,” she said.”The lighthouse needs some work and a body of people to help out. No one wants it to look run down and both summer and year-round residents all have a big interest in the lighthouse.”
     Peardon said the group will meet this month to start gathering ideas and expand the membership. The group first met in late November to gain input from Carol Livingstone, who helped save the West Point lighthouse, and chairs the P.E.I. Lighthouse Society.
     “Everyone is welcome to join our group,” she said. “The more people mean the more ideas we will have to maintain it.”
     Currently the group is applying for Panmure Island to be designated as a Heritage Lighthouse under the federal Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act.
     “The Panmure Island lighthouse has guided many people for 158 years and it’s time for us to help keep it standing tall and proud at the entrance of the Three Rivers.”

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