ST. MARY’S—Crews from the provincial public works department will grading the winter-worn Port Bickerton Lighthouse Rd. this week, council for the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s heard at its committee of the whole meeting on June 1.
“We’ve received that confirmation from [the province],” Chief Administrative Officer Marissa Jordan said. “In addition, I’ve been given a few names that I can reach out to regarding that road being potentially put on our J-Class list in the future.”
Provincially owned J-Class routes are typically maintained by municipalities under cost-sharing formulas between the two levels of government. Port Bickerton Lighthouse Rd. is municipally owned, so such a change in designation would facilitate regular maintenance and upkeep.
In a letter last month, Port Bickerton Lighthouse Association President Don Dodge noted that the road to the culturally significant site was “riddled with potholes.” He added: “It would help us plan for the upcoming season, if we knew what the chances [of maintenance] were.”
The lighthouse – opened in 1901 and decommissioned as a working facility in the 1990s – is a popular tourist attraction for the area. Since 1997, it has been the site of the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Interpretive Centre, which is open seasonally basis to offer information to visitors about this maritime tradition in the province. More recently, it has also operated as an artist retreat and vacation rental cottage.
In other council news, Jordan urged councillors to complete the survey portion of the service exchange agreement with the provincial government as soon as possible. The agreement, under negotiation, stipulates the funding the province commits to municipalities and the consequent responsibilities of local governments.
“This is really important to ensure that municipalities’ needs and aspirations are heard to better serve their constituents,” Jordan explained. “The first part of this process is the survey with 20 questions, which is supposed to be answered on behalf of the whole of council, not by individual councillors. The deadline to have that back is June 13.”
Council adjourned after postponing its next committee of the whole meeting to June 22, from June 15.
Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal