Queens Place Emera Centre has been without a canteen service for a number of months now, much to the chagrin of users that include the Jr. A Privateers and the Liverpool Championship Host Society, which recently hosted the Curling Pre-Trials championship.
However, in the Nov. 9 meeting of the Region of Queens Municipality (RQM) council, it was announced that a new operator may have been found.
Final details on a contract between RQM and Stewart Jenkins of Greenfield are underway with Jenkins suggesting a start date of Nov. 22.
Jenkins is the owner of Stew’s Corner Convenience & Gas in Greenfield and operated the canteen at the centre several years ago.
“Usually it takes weeks and weeks to draw up agreements. But the will and the desire on both parties are there,” RQM Mayor Darlene Norman told LighthouseNOW, adding that the retailer may even start before the suggested date, since there is a figure skating event a few days before.
“We just need to get the signatures on the line. It might be a bit premature to be saying this, but in our meeting with him we all felt pretty comfortable about it,” Norman said on Nov. 9.
Councillor Maddie Charlton commented during the council meeting following the announcement, “that makes me really happy.”
Also during the council meeting, Charlton read a letter from the local Kiwanis club who offered to run a pared-down canteen when needed. This letter was sent prior to the notification of a current contract being worked on.
The Liverpool Jr. A Privateers announced that the Kiwanis would be on hand to work a canteen for the game on Nov. 11.
Several posts on the Privateers’s Facebook page were questioning why the Region can’t operate a canteen when other much small facilities are able to. They also encouraged fans to get a hold of their councillors to encourage them to get something done.
Greg Thorbourne, chair of the Liverpool Championship Host Society, said that they tried their best to have the canteen open during the pre-trials event.
“Our canteen didn’t get opened even though we did everything we could do as a committee to try and encourage it to be open. We even sent names of individuals to the region that would come over and run it, but something fell through there,” he commented.
The issue has been a topic of discussion for the last few council meetings as RQM owns the centre.
In the Oct. 26 council meeting, councillors Charlton and Amirault reported they have received a lot of feedback about not having canteen facilities available.
Council members heard that several efforts to retain services at the canteen have been tried, but with no success. During the meeting, several ideas were tossed about , such as hiring someone part-time to run the canteen. Councillors had agreed at that meeting that it would be worthwhile advertising for a part-time worker to run it.
The last operator for the canteen was Angela Ahmed, owner of the Taste of Saffron Food and Catering Service, who took over in October 2019.
Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin