The Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act, was passed in 2010, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada declared surplus status for 970 lighthouses. Local groups have petitioned to preserve 348 of those and submitted 154 business plans for alternate uses. Five years later, only 16 lighthouses had been designated heritage sites by Parks Canada, currently responsible for the Coast Guard. In May 2015, it was announced that 74 lighthouses will receive heritage status, with 32 to be transferred to local groups or governments. [The Ottawa Citizen June 2, 2015]
The CCG is phasing out manned lighthouses in favor of electronic navigation using GPS and electronic charts for a simple reason - it costs $126,000 to maintain a manned lighthouse and $26,000 for a solar-powered automated lighthouse. Few commercial mariners use foghorns or radio direction beacons in determining position. The loss of lighthouse keepers to assist and save lives is lost. Tankers in Canadian waters use mandatory electronic chart systems (1997). Other ships will voluntarily use electronic charting. The need for visual aids has almost disappeared for commercial traffic. The Coast Guard started an Alternative Use Program for lighthouses no longer needed for CCG operations in an attempt to maintain their heritage value, by transferring them (and their maintenance) to local or provincial authorities.
If your organization or town wishes to open a Bed & Breakfast, cafe, tourist bureau, library, playhouse or town hall, contact the CCG as soon as possible, while these historic structures are still in good condition.