Evidence of meeting #21 for Fisheries and Oceans in the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was access.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Patricia Kell  Director, Policy and Government Relations Branch, National Historic Sites Directorate, Parks Canada Agency
  • Doug Tapley  Manager, Cabinet Affairs, Parks Canada Agency
  • Cal Hegge  Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources and Corporate Services, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
  • Krishna Sahay  Director General, Real Property, Safety and Security, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
  • Andrew Anderson  Senior Divestiture Analyst, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
  • Patricia Carney  P.C., Senator (retired), As an Individual

9:25 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources and Corporate Services, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Cal Hegge

What I was saying, or building on what Patricia said, is if a wharf is designated as part of the heritage site and then entails a higher standard in terms of upkeep in accordance with heritage standards, that's going to drive up the costs.

As you quite rightly pointed out, some costs are going to be associated with maintaining access, but our position is that cost is going to be much less than if we have to keep a wharf, a walkway, or what have you to a heritage standard. We're not suggesting in our remarks, in terms of the financial constraints, that no money would be spent on providing access. Obviously there would have to be some.

From our perspective, given the financial shortfall, we're trying to mitigate the amount of funding that would be required and restrict it as much as possible to the part of the site that has heritage value.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Bill Matthews Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Thank you.

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Fabian Manning

Mr. MacAulay.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Cardigan, PE

Thank you very much, and welcome.

Mr. Hegge, before they're turned over or designated, will you have to bring them to a standard? Will that be the responsibility, and is this where you feel the shortfall in dollars is going to be?

We have problems in Prince Edward Island where we have lighthouses as tourist attractions. Of course, lighthouses happen to be handy to water and handy to the bank. The bank is washing away and the cement is falling in and it becomes dangerous, which of course then means...you know what happens: then they just block it off. That's what we don't want to see.

I'd like you to comment on that. I think you're aware of some of the situations we have.

9:25 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources and Corporate Services, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Cal Hegge

You're quite right, and that's why we would need some funding to be able to give this bill some life. Because we're not about to divest ourselves of our lighthouses in the condition they're in, that's why we need the money to bring them up to a reasonable standard.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Cardigan, PE

What you're telling me is there'd have to be the proper allocation of dollars before DFO would be in support of this bill.

9:25 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources and Corporate Services, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Cal Hegge

We have to find a source of funds to be able to implement the bill.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Cardigan, PE

Do you have any idea how many lighthouses are in use now in the country?

9:25 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources and Corporate Services, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Cal Hegge

We had a bit of this discussion last time. We have roughly 750 that you could define as lighthouses. Within that number, about 250 are the kinds of lighthouses you see on postcards. The other 500 or so are navigational aids, but they do meet the definition of lighthouses as well, depending on how broadly you want to define it.

I don't think we're seriously talking about the 750 being potential heritage lighthouses. That would drive the costs up to be....

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Cardigan, PE

You're talking about 200-and-some that possibly could be in that area.

9:25 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources and Corporate Services, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Cal Hegge

A portion of that.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Cardigan, PE

Do you have any idea of the dollars that would be required?

9:25 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources and Corporate Services, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Cal Hegge

It would depend on the standards or the criteria the parks minister would be developing, so we can't answer that question. We can ballpark it.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Cardigan, PE

No, I can see your point. It's all on what designation they're in.

When a lighthouse is going to be designated, do you feel they have the proper consultation in place to make sure you have somebody in the community who, when you receive or are in charge of the lighthouse, would keep it up to a certain standard?

9:25 a.m.

Manager, Cabinet Affairs, Parks Canada Agency

Doug Tapley

The designation process is done through a public petition. So 25 Canadians would get together and submit a proposal to designate a lighthouse as a heritage lighthouse. Criteria would be developed. That authority rests with the Minister of the Environment. The designation criteria would be in keeping with national and international standards.

As well, if there were lighthouses surplus to operational requirements, there would be an obligation to publish those, to make them known to people who could be thinking of submitting a petition to designate them. If that were the case, a process has been built into the bill.

For example, a community group would need to come together and say they were interested in taking over this lighthouse for a continuing public purpose as a local heritage tourism attraction. That community group would be required to provide a written commitment to the Minister of the Environment at the same time they're submitting their petition to designate the lighthouse as a heritage lighthouse. A business case would also have to be prepared to--