My team and I have put together an ambitious business plan, including sourced quotes for all the work that needs to be done, which will be submitted to the DFO for approval.
Next, this plan is to be submitted to Grand Manan’s town council, where they will hold discussion and a vote on whether to acquire this structure from DFO. They have us scheduled to vote on this acquisition in January or February of 2022, a process that was fast-tracked because one of the town council members is a keen fan of this project and would like to see the lighthouse preserved.
If the lighthouse happens to fall before all of this work can be greenlit, there is some solace in the fact that the structural engineers have already done a 3D scan of the entire rock and the lighthouse buildings. Based on that data, they could create an entire replica if need be. It might even be cheaper to do that, but disposal of the debris would be a problem, and the romantic side of me likes the idea of keeping the original structure intact.
As of now, we are awaiting word on whether the provincial government will agree to pay for the remaining piece of the feasibility study — another $12,000 on top of the $14,000 that’s already been spent — and the work can move forward.
My dream is to turn the lighthouse into a museum, where daytrippers out for rides around the Bay of Fundy can drop in for a visit, a bite to eat, and a stroll through gift shop and wind-rocked grounds, getting a feel for what it must have been like for lighthouse keepers like my Grandpa Ashton.
And for those with the desire to an even deeper dive on the place, I’d like to turn the house, the former lighthouse keepers’ quarters, into a high end boutique retreat. It will be small — probably room for four couples to stay at most — and I dream of having famous chefs come in for week-long residences, cooking local cuisine for folks who are vacationing on the island.
I’ve touched on the lighthouse’s cultural and historical relevance. My own personal family history centers on the lighthouse, naturally, so it would mean a great deal to me to play some part in its conservation and restoration.
To see this important landmark disappear would be such a huge loss. My philosophy is, if we can keep it alive, why shouldn’t we? I’m glad we are at least trying. It would be amazing to look back and say that I was the one who was able to get this back to its original look and feel. And to be able to offer an experience where visitors can come and stay and appreciate it like I do would be extraordinary. This project has the potential to long outlast me — and I do love the idea that we could create a legacy of something people could enjoy for generations to come.
It’s a big undertaking. It’s not an easy task by any stretch, but if it can be done, I’m going to make it happen.
We’re envisioning a unique experience for a unique world heritage location. I hope you’re as excited as I am about the prospect of a lighthouse travel experience, and I would love to hear your thoughts.
My team and I have prepared a short survey to gather feedback about our plans for development. It takes less than five minutes to complete, and who knows? You might see some of these ideas come to fruition on Gannet Rock very soon.