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Owner plans to convert abandoned Northern Peninsula lighthouse into a tourism hotspot

Quinten Coates has been bringing sheep and goats to Flower’s Island every summer. Each fall he sells the animals to locals, and their meat goes at a high price.
Quinten Coates has been bringing sheep and goats to Flower’s Island every summer. Each fall he sells the animals to locals, and their meat goes at a high price.

FLOWER’S COVE, NL – A new tourist haven is on the horizon for Flower’s Cove – and it’s one that can only be reached by boat.

Decades ago, Flower’s Island was a year-round home to families who operated the now abandoned lighthouse. While the lighthouse and some of the houses on the island still remain intact, over time they have been affected by rotting and crumbling.

Still, local business owners say a common question from tourists who come through the area is, “Can we find a way out to that lighthouse?”

Quinten Coates’ first project for this summer is to install a staircase leading to the lantern room of the lighthouse. He plans to convert it into a tea room for island renters to look out over the water and hopefully spot some whales.

Quinten Coates has owned Flower’s Island for the past three years. This summer he is undertaking some initial steps to convert the island’s abandoned lighthouse into an island getaway for tourists.

He decided to purchase the island after seeing it go unused for some time. On a whim, he went to the previous owner’s and asked if they would sell it.

“It was $25,000 for the island, and $2,500 for lawyer fees,” Coates said. “Some people would say I was throwing my money away, but I thought it was a good buy.”

When he first got the island, Coates boated over several sheep and goats. He brought them to feed off the tall grass that had been growing on the island since it’s abandonment. He still keeps a number of them there every summer, and sells them in the fall.

Quinten Coates has owned Flower’s Island for the past three years. This summer he’s beginning work on converting the island’s historic lighthouse into a furnished cabin for tourists.

“Doctors in the area really like to buy them for the meat,” he said. “I get a better price because I don’t feed them much grain.”

As well as caring for the animals, he often brings family and friends to the island for picnics and barbecues. And while Coates is a man who always has several projects on the go, redeveloping the island in some fashion has been on his mind for a while.

His first prospect was to turn the lighthouse into a bed and breakfast, but he figured it would not be economically feasible.

He then began developing the idea to create an island getaway experience. One in which tourists can rent the island for a week at a time with a fully furnished cabin (that is also an historic lighthouse).

Coates first prospect for this summer is to bring in and build a winding staircase to the lantern room of the lighthouse. He’s currently getting quotes on the stairs, and plans to bring the steps over on his boat.

He expects it to cost him roughly $10,000, and like all things for this project, it’s all being paid from his own pocket.

“First I was thinking about installing a new light for the lighthouse, but with the staircase there it would make for a good tea room,” Coates said.

“People can go up, look out around and see the whales.”

While he is busy with several projects on the go, Quentin Coates hopes to get some initial work done this summer on turning Flower’s Island into a tourist getaway. The former boathouse of Flower’s Island may soon become a spot reserved for boiling lobster meals.

On the second floor of the lighthouse he expects to have two bedrooms, a possible study and a balcony installed for people to sit out on. He plans for a bedroom, living room, and kitchen on the first floor.

An old boathouse situated next to the lighthouse is set to become a spot to take people out and boil lobsters inside. It fits in well with Coates career work as a fisherman.

A house in rough condition situated on the other end of the island — the sheep and goats decided to take that over as a barn. Coates boarded it up this year to keep them out; he plans to tear it down and eventually install a safer barn for the animals.

When winter arrives Coates expects to be bringing over more materials to start converting the island into its new future as a tourist haven.

By Kyle Greenham
The Northern Pen

kyle.greenham@northernpen.ca

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