Do you want to buy a lighthouse?

Canada is selling lighthouses. Now that is a unique way to live!

The Canadian government Department of Fisheries and Oceans is selling off the coastal lighthouses as they are no longer needed. These ones will be replaced with a much simpler structure. Some of the lighthouses are no longer used as navigational aids so they have been labeled surplus.

Buying a lighthouse might not be quite as much fun as it appears - buyer beware! There can be a pollution problem with the soil around the lighthouses. The government has done remediation on some of the lighthouse properties but will likely not get them all done.

Oil spill onto the ground is one of the problems. Over the years the oil has absorbed quite deeply and soil tests would be required. Any person purchasing a lighthouse would take on the responsibility of cleaning up the oil residue and the subsequent liability.

The sale involves nearly 1,000 lighthouses including some famous ones at Peggy's Cove in Nova Scotia and CapeSpear near St. John's Newfoundland. Nearly 1,000 lighthouses, including iconic ones at Peggy's Cove, N.S., and Cape Spear near St. John's, N.L., have been declared surplus property by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

If you live in a community that wants to keep the lighthouse for the heritage value then individuals, municipalities or community-based non-profit groups can seek heritage designation for lighthouses. This done by forwarding a petition to the minister responsible for Parks Canada, within two years after the coming into force of the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act.

These petitions for surplus lighthouses will be evaluated by Parks Canada and a written commitment to acquire and protect a surplus lighthouse must be received in order for it to be eligible for the heritage designation.

If heritage designation is given then the lighthouse could be used for such purposes as a museum or restaurant in order to generate revenue to cover the maintenance costs.

What about the lightkeepers? They do not staff the surplus lighthouses. If one of the lighthouses did contain a functioning navigation aid then the new owner would be required to operate the aid and maintain it or provide access to the site.

Insurance issues with insuring a lighthouse would include valuing the structure. What would be the actual replacement cost? The pollution concerns would need to be addressed as well. Check out the website below for a list of active lighthouses that have been declared surplus.