a lighthouse in Gabarus, Nova Scotia may get
a new lease on life, thanks to the help of some
third- and fourth-year political science students
at Cape Breton University. The historic beacon
on Cape Breton Island, a throwback to Gabarus’s
bygone days as a fishing hub, was declared
surplus by the Department of Fisheries and
Oceans in 2012 and risks falling into disrepair.
Now, under the tutelage of Tom Urbaniak, a
political science professor at CBU, students are
teaming up with concerned community mem-
bers to make a case for its continued operation.
“It was an important part of the coursework,”
says Dr. Urbaniak, who has involved three suc-
cessive political science classes in the project.
“It’s known as the lighthouse class,” says
Maureen Jobes, one of Dr. Urbaniak’s students.
“It’s one of those classes that are hands on; you
get to go out there and help out, instead of just
sitting behind a desk.”
Cape Breton students work to
save historic lighthouse
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The CBU students have investigated funding
opportunities and created a business plan that
would see the lighthouse rejuvenated as a his-
torical attraction on Gabarus’s scenic coastline.
They’ve also helped form the Gabarus Light-
keepers Society, a local body dedicated to con-
serving the lighthouse. If everything goes accord-
ing to plan, the lighthouse will remain active,
with the Coast Guard maintaining the light and
the lightkeepers’ society maintaining the build-
ing and grounds.
“The students have been very enthusiastic,”
says Tim Menk, a volunteer with the lightkeepers’
society. “It’s been eye-opening, I think on both
sides, for students and for those of us who are
older … to see that a common cause can be made
and friendships formed.” – jennifer halsall
Political science class teams up with community members to make a case for local landmark
The historic Gabarus lighthouse
awaits its fate.