Some residents of Cape Ray think their local lighthouse could use a coat of paint.
© Brodie Thomas photo
Locals want a fresh coat of paint put on the Cape Ray Lighthouse but the federal government says bids came in too high this year.
However the federal government says bids on the work came in too high this year and it will have to wait until next year.
Paul Taverner lives in Cape Ray but also has a cabin near the lighthouse. He volunteered one or two days a week this summer to greet visitors at the museum and gift shop next to the lighthouse.
He started calling the coast guard and local politicians because of the state of the building.
“A lot of tourists are asking when they get here, ‘how come the lighthouse is not painted?’” he said.
In an email from DFO, Michele Boriel said the department issued a tender for painting the life station but al bids returned were too high.
Ms. Boriel said it is too late this year to reissue a tender for painting because of the weather, but the plans are to try again in the spring of 2013.
Burgeo-La Poile MHA Andrew Parsons said he had a difficult time getting answers on the delay in painting the lighthouse. He started by contacting Minister Peter Penashue’s office.
“It’s just hard to understand how these processes just take so long in really what should be a simple process.”
Mr. Taverner thinks Cape Ray has a lot to offer tourists.
Besides the lighthouse, there is the museum and Dorset archeological site. The sandy beach could also be a great attraction, he thinks.
“I don’t think there’s enough advertising, myself,” he said.
He recounted a visit to Burgeo earlier this summer. While at Sandbanks he met a man on the beach there and they struck up a conversation.
“He was all by himself. He said he was visiting all the beaches in Newfoundland. I asked him if he had heard about Cape Ray’s beach and he said he hadn’t.”
While the Dorset sight may be unique, it is mainly the lighthouse that draws people in.
He said many tourists coming off the boat drive in to take pictures of the structure. Due to the timing of the ferry, many show up first thing in the morning, while volunteers from the community don’t open the museum with Dorset artifacts until 9:30 or 10 a.m.
The other time he sees a lot of tourists is when the ferry is delayed. People waiting to catch the boat take time to wander into Cape Ray.
This year, for the second year in a row, the lighthouse association received no funding for staff at the lighthouse site.
Mr. Taverner isn’t sure how much longer volunteers can keep the site running.