An environmental assessment is also being conducted. This report, will give us detailed knowledge of the hazards we might encounter in our restoration of the lightstation.
Last November some old drawings and maps were located at the Coast Guard Base at Parry Sound. One shows the original fog building and diaphone and another drawing is of the existing fog horn building. About 40 old photographs were also found. Some show the remains of the old fog horn building after the fire in December 1947. Thank you Ron Walker at the Coast Guard Base at Parry Sound for allowing me to copy these valuable historic items
In the first week of June, a Conservation Technologist Analyst and a Marine Structures Engineer from Heritage Conservation Directorate of Public Works and Government Services Canada visited the lightstation. They spent two days on the island and did a thorough structural analysis of the original stone cottage, the fog alarm building, the boat house, the lightkeeper’s residence and the assistant keeper’s house from top to bottom. Combined with the analysis of the tower which was completed earlier, the project will give us a thorough understanding of the structural condition of the buildings and is the first phase of our restoration of the Cove Island Lightstation.
The original lightkeepers cottage is in sad shape. Moisture is a problem. Remedial measures to improve air circulation have helped, but the damage has been done. A couple of floor joists have separated from the wall while others are cracked causing the main floor at the south west corner of the building to sag. All the original 12’ x 3’ joists will have to be replaced.
On the main floor, the paint is cracked and blistered, and the plaster is falling off the walls. It is doubtful it can be repaired. On the second floor, the fibre board walls are damaged beyond repair. In essence, the interior will have to be gutted. The building has been closed as a safety precaution.
The interior of the fog horn building was completely painted. It looks fantastic. Photographs do not do it justice. A few little finishing touches here and there remain to be accomplished.
It is a dream of ours to refurbish the fog horn equipment and get it working again. The manufacturers of the diesel engines (Lister), and the compressors (Ingersol Rand), were contacted. Ingersol Rand has forwarded a parts list. I was amazed the parts are still available. The piping needs to be checked, the resonator needs to be taken apart, and the air exchange tanks need to be pressure tested. And of course, government approvals are needed. An organization in the U.S. dedicated to horns & whistles has offered their expertise.
Think of it, a working diaphone!
Painting the exteriors of the buildings continues, and continues and . . . When we finish we have to start all over again. That’s life on an island lighthouse. The boat house, lightkeepers house, the workshop and a shed have all received a fresh coat of paint. Part of the fog horn building was painted. This leaves the north and west sides which will be completed in the spring of 2010.
It is amazing how much better the property looks with a little TLC!