Shelter for a Farm Market

A tax shelter. The Wolfville “Farm” market will have a new “home” as announced a few days ago. We copy excerpts from the Farm Market’s Press Release with comments of our own in square brackets in red. As usual the report raises more questions than it answers.

— The Wolfville Farmers’ Market has found a permanent indoor home courtesy of a recently-signed memorandum of understanding with Acadia University. …

The Wolfville’s Farmers’ Market began in 1982 with three vendors and now boasts more than 60. Over the years, it has operated at various locations [tax free] in Wolfville, primarily at the Robie Tufts Nature Centre or indoors at the Acadia Students’ Union Building. Its new [tax free] home will be a portion of Acadia’s DeWolfe Building, which currently serves as a large warehouse for the university.

The building will provide [tax] shelter and allow the market to install permanent booths for 65 vendors indoors with room for expansion outside in the summer months, which would allow the market to become a permanent [tax free] fixture in the community. …

In the coming months, the market’s executive will work with Acadia’s administration to finalize the details of the leasing arrangement. Right now, Acadia has committed to providing an environmental assessment of the space [At whose expense? Acadia’s? If so, as is implied,  is this appropriate for a publicly funded institution?]and has offered to lease the location at no cost for 20 years.[ie. RENT FREE-how many other businesses in town gets that perk?] The Farmers’ Market will manage its operations independent of Acadia and will be responsible for leasehold improvement and utility costs. [ie. Acadia saves utility costs of the DeWolfe building. Acadia will get to keep all leasehold improvements as it did with the ATF building.]

We’ll begin fundraising in the New Year, so we can create the kind of warm, welcoming atmosphere that our dedicated patrons have come to expect from their market shopping experience,” Patterson explained. [And will they be looking for “funding” from Wolfville’s taxpayers and from Provincial and Federal taxpayers? You bet!]

The Wolfville Farmers’ Market is a cooperative [It didn’t start out as a cooperative. It was a business.] organization that started in 1992 with three vendors and now boasts over 60 vendors year-round. …

Since 2004, when the Wolfville Farmers’ Market had its first strategic planning session, the vendors set themselves the goal of finding a permanent home to help them achieve sustainable growth. …

A permanent home could offer protection from the elements, a single place to be found year-round, and a venue where vendors could use freezers, coolers, sinks, vertical shelving to offer a greater variety of product (from fresh meat to more produce to gelato). A permanent home could make it possible to offer a mid-week market in Wolfville. [All the better to compete with tax paying businesses in town and true farmers markets nearby!] And a permanent home could mean greater service to vendors and the community.

The Market was looking for a space in the downtown core of Wolfville which could host at least 60 vendors year-round; but also a space that could be operated sustainably. This was no small challenge given the space they needed was 6,000 square feet minimally, and that the intent was for the market to operate twice a week.[For which benefits one usually pays rent or buys a building and pays tax – i.e. pay one’s way!]

And then ….the perfect answer arrived!

DeWolfe Building

Acadia acquired the DeWolfe Warehouse  in 2001.  … Acadia has used the building as a central storage facility for the campus, and will retain the concrete portion of the building for that purpose.

We point out to our readers and the taxpayers of Wolfville that Acadia is exempted of tax. There is a grant in lieu paid to the Town by the Provincial government (out of our provincial tax pocket) that is supposed to replace taxes which would otherwise be accrued from the property. So this self described “enterprise” will not add to the tax base of the town. We wish all businesses in town could operate rent free and tax free. One wit has suggested we sell the whole town to Acadia and just lease it back!

Be aware that by supporting this market we taxpayers are paying to kill the independent small businesses in our town.

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One response to “Shelter for a Farm Market

  1. “Some wit suggesed that we sell the whole town to Acadia and lease it back.” Why not sell the town to the Farmers Market and lease it back. Good luck to the businesshave to pay taxes, rent, insurance, employees,phone, collect HST and submit it every three months. Give it up and join the Farmers Market. They seem to have a lot of power in town and they are more organized than the Wolfville Business Development Corp. When it comes to freebees they sure know where to go. Pity it was such a nice little own. Note to self 2010 contact realestate agent….
    And now not just Saturday, they want another day during the week 😦