Tender for lighthouse painting awarded
The Cape Bonavista Lighthouse will get a much-needed coat of paint this week, according to the Department of Transportation and Works.
R&D Construction Ltd. successfully bid for the work, with a tender worth $88,000.
Betty Fitzgerald, the mayor of Bonavista, says she's relieved to know the lighthouse will end the year with a fresh coat of paint.
© Shawn Hayward photo
The Cape Bonavista Lighthouse, seen here on Aug. 24, has paint peeling off the exterior. A tender valued at $88,000 means the painting of the lighthouse wil move forward before the end of the year.
"Some tourists were certainly disappointed to see that the lighthouse needed the painting.," she told the Packet. "When we told them the contract would be soon awarded they thought that was wonderful."
The painting will come just as the tourism season in Bonavista winds down for the year. Fitzgerald says the tourists she spoke to understood that the location of the lighthouse exposed it to weather that would deteriorate its outside appearance, but overall it took away from the experience of seeing the lighthouse.
The poor state of the lighthouse caused her to enjoy it less herself.
"This past year or so to tell you the truth I didn't spend as much time there as I'd like to because it was in such deplorable condition," she says. "People ask so many questions about that site, to see it painted now is a big plus for us."
There's still more work to be done on site, according to Fitzgerald. Two buildings the gift shop and a building that's currently vacant, need a touch-up of paint as well. She says she hopes the vacant building can one day be an interpretation centre for whales and puffins that can be seen not far from the Cape in the summertime.
In the spring Terry French, the minister of tourism, culture, and recreation, told the Packet the work was to be done in May or early June, ahead of the tourist season.
French said it's important to keep up tourist sites such as the lighthouse, because tourism is a $1-billion industry employing 17,000 people across the province. The tourist season began in May, and beginning the painting now isn't ideal, according to French, but he says he's determined to see it done by the end of the year.
"It's important we keep up the (tourism) product, so that our product remains high and we keep building on it," he says. "It's always a concern, and you'll be continually doing maintenance. Maybe it should have been last year. Fair enough. I get that. Sometimes there's only so much money that can go around."