WEST POINT, P.E.I. — O’Leary-Inverness MLA Robert Henderson says he is confident the West Point Lighthouse will remain a successful tourism entity whether it stays with the West Point Development Corporation or is sold to a private entity.
Henderson, whose rural West Prince riding includes West Point, said last week he was informed that purchase and sale discussions were underway approximately a week prior to the April 3 meeting where corporation members voted to approve a sale.
“It’s been a successful entity. I would have every confidence in either form that it continues on – as a development corporation or as a private sector – that it will continue to be successful. I think it is a high-end tourism product,” said Henderson, who currently serves as minister of agriculture and fisheries. He is a former minister of tourism.
Henderson said it is his understanding that operations would remain the same this year while the parties work through a process to determine whether they want to proceed with the transaction.
The development corporation’s Harbourside Centre is not part of the sale, he said.
“It’s their decision,” said Henderson. “I will support whatever direction they want to take. I still want the West Point Lighthouse to be a primary tourism product in the riding and I’m confident it will continue that in whatever capacity, and I will help, whatever the format is from an organizational perspective, to still achieve that goal.”
Henderson confirmed the development corporation does not have any outstanding loans with the provincial government on the property.
He said he did advise the parties that some of the support government has provided to the development corporation for shoreline protection at the lighthouse and for wage subsidies might not be available to a private sector owner.
“That changes if it is in private sector hands, and that’s fine. It’s to make sure that the public is aware that that would be different.”
He said a private owner would be eligible to apply for the types of government supports that other private sector businesses can access.