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Sooke Harbour: News: Sheringham Park

Sheringham 10-acre park nears reality Lighthouse society nets 3,500 signatures for petition to send back to Ottawa

By Jennifer Smith
Sooke News Mirror
April 13, 2005

Members of the Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

After two years of painstaking preparation, the non-profit organization has caught the eye and support of local government and are hoping to attract federal and provincial attention for a scheme to preserve the near 100-year old lighthouse in a 10-acre park.

Sheringham Lighthouse Sooke

Thanks to the diligent work of society members, Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca MP Dr. Keith Martin received a 3500-signature petition this month with the John Hancocks of concerned residents from across the country.

"I have to give the Sheringham Lighthouse Society huge accolades for the way they've conducted themselves," said Martin. "A lot of work has been done."

As the lighthouse is still owned and operated by the Canadian Coast Guard, Martin plans to present the petition to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Geoff Raegan (the minister responsible for the Coast Guard) and noted he believes the petition should be well received.

"I think we are very close to making (the park) a reality," Martin said.

The society has actively campaigned to save the lighthouse from the clutches of private developers, suggesting their membership could help manage the park if various levels of government could secure the surrounding land for public use. While the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Parks Commission has agreed to take on the new park as part of their portfolio, the land falls under federal jurisdiction.

"This will be the ultimate in a private-public partnership," said Michael Galizio, lighthouse society president.

Now more than two years old, their membership united over the issue when rumour began circulating that the lighthouse would be cut from Coast Guard program. "What we did was pull all the individuals together who were working on it so we could-(front) a concerted effort."

According to Coast Guard communications officer Dan Bate the site is still fully operational.
Sheringham Point Lighthouse was built in 1912 to guide mariners through the thick fog and rough waters that plague the west coast of the Island.

The lighthouse society encompasses some 150 members and includes honorary members of the Arden family (Eustace Arden was the first lighthousekeeper, working from 1912-1946) and the Clark family (who donated the property for the lighthouse).

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