They’re getting closer.
The campaign for a new Antigonish Farmers’ Market building – the Antigonish Agricultural Centre – received another boost recently as the Cooperative Social Responsibility Committee of the East Coast Credit Union presented campaign representatives with a cheque for $7,500.
The presentation was made Feb. 21 at the East Coast Credit Union in Antigonish.
“It’s going very well,” Antigonish Farmers’ Market Association president Casey Van de Sande, one of those on-hand for the presentation, said.
“Certainly we’re grateful for the contributions people have made and continue to make. Most weeks, there is something coming in to add to it, and we’re hoping to be able to start sometime this spring or early summer, as far as the actual construction of the building. At least put a spade in the ground and get it going anyway,” Van de Sande said, talking to the Casket a few days after the Credit Union contribution was presented.
Van de Sande said the total raised so far locally, through supporters/contributors, is approximately $620,000; and campaign committee members hope to see, around, another $200,000 from that end, to go along with anticipated government contributions.
He added the final price tag of approximately $1.6 million is “scaled back” from the original $1.9 million.
“We want to keep it as efficient as possible, make it functional as possible,” he said of the facility, which will be a year-round building as opposed to what is currently used at the exhibition grounds.
“It will be a building people will be glad to come into; a wonderful place to be, a nice place to visit and a great addition to the community,” Van de Sande said.
The Antigonish Farmers’ Market website (antigonishfarmersmarket.ca) provides more information on the campaign, including illustrations of the final look and how to contribute.
A section on the page is titled ‘why a new building?’ and includes the following answers:
- We need room for more vendors
- It will allow us to have a year-round market
- Will be open for more than one day a week
- A provincially inspected, commercial kitchen available for broad based community usage
- Increased access to local food and healthy eating
- Encourage the development of more small farms, local artisans and food vendors.
- Will serve as an incubator for new small business
- Will have a greatly increased economic impact.
“Since its beginnings in 1995, the market has become more successful with each year and now attracts well over 1,000 visitors on any given Saturday, during the height of the season,” a passage on the same webpage reads.
“But, it has outgrown its present location, and the modifications required to enlarge and bring the current building up to code and meet food safety regulations would be prohibitively expensive. The Landry 4-H Building has been a great home for more than 20 years, but it is time to move on.