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Cancel lighthouse restoration, report says

Since no one has indicated any interest in purchasing the lighthouse keeper’s dwelling, Town staff recommends that council pull the plug on the restoration of the Point Abino lighthouse.

A report to council Monday will ask council to cancel the project even though the best bid on the job is nearly $280,000 less than anticipated.

Cancellation would require the Town to give back a $425,000 grant from the federal government and eliminate the need to drain municipal reserves by nearly $800,000 to fund the project.

The report states that if the reserves are spent on the lighthouse, a 4.2 per cent increase in taxes would be required to replenish them to fund repair, replacement and refurbishment of other municipal facilities.

Council decided last year to sell the dwelling and pour the money into the $1.4 million restoration.

The original asking price was $899,000, and along with the federal grant and $156,000 already set aside for the lighthouse, the project would have been covered.

Council was told in March that there were no takers on the dwelling — which council designated as a historic building shortly after it decided to sell it — and the list price was reduced by $250,000.

Deferring other facilities projects would increase the annual operating costs of such things as the arenas, public works garage, Stevensville hall, town hall, tennis courts and others, the report states.

The report recommends against debenture financing because the Town has already approved $6 million in additional debt for the next two years, and long-term financing should only be used for projects that will help to generate assessment growth.

Council also has the option to defer the project for another year and reapply for the federal funds since the existing grant must be spent by March next year but construction cannot take place during the winter.

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  1. Patty Mountain | May 15, 2011 | Reply

    Not much sense in restoring something that the taxpayers of Fort Erie can’t even enjoy. Total stupidity. We can’t afford higher taxes, I’m guessing at least 75% of Fort Erie is living in poverty now.

  2. Ryan | May 16, 2011 | Reply

    The best idea would be to tear down the lighthouse, and turn the area into a public park – it would be a good compromise for all the “Friends of Crystal Beach” to have more public lakefront. Even though it isn’t easily accessable (the only road is private), open the land up to boaters as a quieter option to Bay Beach.

    The rest of the money saved can go to all the projects the “Fab4” on council keep ignorning every week beyond Bay Beach (fire halls, road improvements, drinking water improvements, etc. etc.) that the Fab4 are completely ignorning since taking office…

    For those who want to protect the lighthouse, speak with your wallet and buy the place if you like it…or shut up.

  3. truthseekers | May 17, 2011 | Reply

    This is the proof positive of the disdain these four losers have for the staff of our town, as well as their total disregard for the taxpayers of Fort Erie. To deplete the facility reserve account is criminal, especially in light of the fact that they know full well that many of our facilities are going to need major work in the very near future. Obviously former councillor Paul Fell was right when he was the only one who voted against buying this white elephant from the federal government and stated “this will be the most expensive dollar the town has ever spent”….Throw these guys out before it is too late!!!!!

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