In an effort to devise a plan of action to proceed with the restoration of Hole in the Wall Lighthouse, the Lighthouse Restoration Committee decided to invite an expert, Annie Potts (who was involved with the restoration of the Hope Town Lighthouse) to one of the meetings.
The meeting took place in the afternoon of January 24 at the Chamber of Commerce Conference room. Many committee members representing various stakeholders, attended. They comprised David and Kathy Ralph – with Abaco Chamber of Commerce, Stanley White – former local government official for Sandy Point, – David Knowles – with the Bahamas National Trust, the late Richard Cunningham – with the Port Authority, Nancy Albury – Bahamas Antiquities Monuments and Museums Corporation, Wynsome Ferguson – with the Ministry of Tourism and a representative of the Royal Bahamian Defense Force, and P.O. Michael Lightbourne.
Chairperson, Anita Knowles, introduced Ms. Potts and stated the reason for requesting a meeting with her, which was to ask her for guidance on how to go forward to devise a plan of action.
Ms. Potts first gave as synopsis of meetings that took place in Nassau regarding the maintenance of all the lighthouses in The Bahamas (ten). She said that a suggestion that all the lighthouses be under the management of the National Bahamas Trust was rejected by the Trust Director as well as another suggestion that the Trust manage only the four located in San Salvador, Inagua, Hope Town and Hole in the Wall. That proposal was also rejected because of lack of man power. The last solution of BNT taking care of the two lighthouses on Abaco has not been decided upon.
Ms. Potts praised the committee. She reiterated the importance of putting panels in the lantern room to protect it from the weather and suggested a fund raiser to obtain the money to do it, a solution that leaves the committee with its hands tied as a proper authorization to do it would be needed, which would be difficult to obtain without a plan of action.
It seemed that the situation had reached a dead-end.
Ms. Ferguson, too, mentioned the importance of a plan of action which would give the committee more credibility in meeting with more stake holders- including government ministers and officials- and would allow it to raise money towards the first steps of maintenance, such as purchasing the plexiglass panels for the lantern room, painting the lighthouse and restoring one of the buildings.
The meeting adjourned with the understanding that David Ralph would write a letter to Defense Force Commander Bain requesting his help in providing staff to do an engineering assessment and a similar letter to Alicia Oxley, a Historical Architect with the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation to obtain her views on restoring the lighthouse according to historical data.
Meetings will resume after an answer has been forwarded by those entities.