Bell Island Lighthouse Relocation Project


  • Amanda Curnew Memorial University of Newfoundland


(Coastal and Ocean Engineering, ENGI 8751) (Case Study) (Civil) (Bell Island) (Bell Island Lighthouse)


Bell Island is a small community located in Conception Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). The current population on the island is just under 3000 people. The island is very unique given its rich and colourful history, including remnants of the once thriving mining industry of the 1800’s and one of the few places in North America that was the target of an enemy attack in World War II. Aside from its unique history, Bell Island is well known for its scenic attractions and artifacts. One of the most common attractions is the lighthouse located at the East End of the island. The province of NL, in particular, relies heavily on lighthouses to assist marine travellers navigating along our vast, rugged coastline. The Bell Island lighthouse has been in operation since 1940 and has assisted thousands of fishermen and mariners to safely navigate in Conception Bay. In NL, the Canadian Coast Guard oversees and monitors the conditions of the lighthouses across the province to ensure they are fully operational all year round. During the fall of 2000, it had become apparent that the cliff face near the Bell Island lighthouse was experiencing significant coastal erosion; therefore, presenting a major concern for the functionality of the lighthouse, stability of the nearby ground and safety of persons in the area, which led to the relocation of the lighthouse in 2003. The following paper will focus on the various challenges encountered with relocating the Bell Island lighthouse, including assessment of the land stability, impact of coastal erosion on the cliffs and selection of a new suitable location safe for public access. It will highlight any lessons learned from this project and look at what the future holds for the Bell Island lighthouse.


Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canadian Coast Guard, “Lightstations in Newfoundland and Labrador”,

Photos of Bell Island,

Mr. Rick Bennett, Small Craft Harbours & Real Property Branch, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, “Letter to Town of Wabana RE: Relocation of Bell Island Lightstation”, April 10, 2003

AMEC Earth & Environmental Limited, “Slope Stability Assessment Lighthouse, Bell Island, NF”, December 15, 2000

C-CORE, “Risk Assessment Lighthouse, Bell Island, NF, Final Report”, December 2000

Sheppard Case Architects Inc., “Bell Island Lightstation Planning Options Report”, November 12, 2002

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Coastal Engineering Manual – Part III. Chapter 5 – Erosion, Transport, and Deposition of Cohesive Sediments. Publication Number EM 1110-2-1100. Publication Date: April 30, 2002






Coastal and Ocean Engineering (ENGI.8751)