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Town of Grand Bank providing loan for theatre building purchase, not development corporation

Lighthouse Productions Inc., operator of the Grand Bank Regional Theatre, signed a purchase and sale agreement with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador to buy the Pentecostal Church in Grand Bank last month.
Lighthouse Productions Inc., operator of the Grand Bank Regional Theatre, signed a purchase and sale agreement with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador to buy the Pentecostal Church in Grand Bank. - Paul Herridge

Change of plans

GRAND BANK, N.L. —

Lighthouse Productions Inc. has secured a loan to purchase the former Pentecostal church in Grand Bank, but it’s coming from a different source than initially anticipated.

The $90,000 needed to buy the building will be put up by the Town of Grand Bank instead of the Grand Bank Development Corporation (GBDC).

“In my opinion, the offer from the Grand Bank Development Corporation was only prescription for demise,” Mayor Rex Matthews told The Southern Gazette after the town council’s meeting on Monday, April 15.

In early April, The Gazette reported Lighthouse Productions Inc. had been successful in attaining funding from the GBDC to purchase the church for use as the new home of the Grand Bank Regional Theatre.

Jack Burfitt, chairman of the board of directors for Lighthouse Productions Inc. and a Grand Bank councillor, told the newspaper on April 3 the GBDC had approved a loan the previous day.

“The next step now is GBDC doing a letter of offer to Lighthouse Productions,” Burfitt said at the time.

With Burfitt presently out of town, Coun. Stan Burt, who is also a member of the Lighthouse board, told The Gazette April 15 the offer was turned down once the details of the GBDC’s proposal were reviewed in more detail.

“We just felt this is not going to work,” Burt said.

With the conditions, the board began to see the loan as essentially a “non-offer,” he said.

With a purchase and sale agreement in place with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador to buy the church, the situation was looking grim, so the board briefed the town, Burt said.

Matthews said council came to a decision to put together an offer, one that will see the town loan Lighthouse Productions Inc. the funds to buy the church interest-free.

Lighthouse Productions will be required to make one $6,000 payment annually near the end of each year until the debt is paid off, he said.

“Every dollar that we have invested is protected, and I have faith in the theatre board that they will do their utmost (to ensure success),” Matthew said.

Burt said the board believes the town’s offer places the operation on solid footing.

“It’s putting the theatre in a position that we feel that we’re going to be very comfortable and (will give) us room to expand and succeed,” he said.

paul.herridge@southerngazette.ca

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