A fresh perspective and an innovative approach is about to change the way Fort Point Lighthouse Gift Shop and the Liverpool Visitor Information Centre operate. Motions to establish leases for the two Municipal properties were approved on Tuesday, May 10 at the Region of Queens Municipality’s Council meeting. Municipal staff was directed to develop a property lease agreement with Lane’s Privateer Inn to operate Fort Point Lighthouse Museum & Gift Shop, and to develop a lease with Queens Association for Supported Living – Penny Lane Enterprises to operate in a shared use capacity in the Liverpool Visitor Information Centre (VIC).
“Council was excited to see the plans that Lane’s Privateer Inn and Penny Lane Enterprises have for these properties,” said Christopher Clarke, Mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality. “Both the VIC and Fort Point Lighthouse Gift Shop have historically had brief open seasons. Through the forward thinking vision of these two organizations, both will have extended seasons, draw more residents and locals, and engage them in exciting new ways.”
On April 13, 2016, Region of Queens issued a request for expressions of interest for several vacant municipal properties, and accepted proposals until the closing date of April 25, 2016. The proposal that Lane’s Privateer Inn made regarding Fort Point Lighthouse Gift Shop includes maintaining a gift shop located on the first floor, with a focus on Nova Scotia products made with quality and relevance to the visitors to the Lighthouse. Lane’s will use first floor for both retail and interpretive displays, with a focus primarily on Fort Point, and lighthouse history. There are also plans to offer a unique culinary experience with Lighthouse Lunches provided by Lane’s. This has been offered at a few lighthouses in Newfoundland but not in Nova Scotia.
“The Lighthouse at Fort Point is a project near and dear to our hearts as our Dad, Ron Lane, was instrumental in opening the lighthouse to the public. When it was announced that the RQM would not be operating the museum this year, we felt a moral obligation to continue Ron’s legacy and keep the lighthouse open to the public,” said Susan Lane, Manager of Lane’s Privateer Inn. “It is with great pleasure that we announce that Lane’s Privateer Inn will be partnering with the Region of Queens to operate the Lighthouse at Fort Point for the summer season of 2016. The lighthouse will be open 6 days per week during the peak summer season and weekends during the shoulder season. Lane’s at the Lighthouse will continue the mandate of the RQM as we will operate the lighthouse as an historic interpretive centre in keeping with the established tradition.”
Queens Association for Supported Living - Penny Lane Enterprises is proposing the shared use of the VIC as a retail space to sell products made at Penny Lane Enterprises, as well as other social enterprises around the province and other locally made products. There is also potential for Penny Lane Enterprises to host special events at the VIC either independently or in conjunction with other community partners. It is proposed that the staff and clients of Penny Lane would operate the retail shop as well as assist Region staff in the operation of the tourist information aspect allowing both the Region and QASL to build capacity within the community.
“Penny Lane Enterprises is thrilled to be partnering with the Region of Queens for the shared use of this great facility. Community inclusion for people of all abilities is the main focus of our organization, so to be in the centre of Liverpool’s downtown core, showcasing our products and services is a wonderful opportunity for us,” said Treena Dexter, Executive Director of Queens Association for Supported Living. “We look forward to working with Region staff as our community continues to embrace diversity well into the future.”
Municipal staff will develop a lease agreement for each organization with a one year term, with a mutual option for a one year renewal. These partnerships will allow access to valued community amenities at a lower cost to the taxpayer, through a savings of approximately $25,000 in staffing costs at Fort Point Lighthouse Gift Shop, and a percentage of the revenue generated at the VIC. It is expected that both sites will be open to visitors later in the evenings than in previous years, and Penny Lane Enterprises is planning be open weekdays in the “off season”, from October to April, making the VIC a year round operation.
“There are many benefits in the partnerships we have now formed with Penny Lane Enterprises and Lane’s Privateer Inn,” said Clarke. “We look forward to seeing the vision of Lane’s and the Queens Association for Supported Living come to life, and the positive ways it impact residents and visitors, as well as adding to the products and services offered in Liverpool .”