CARBONEAR, NL — The Town of Carbonear recently took the first step towards establishing a farmers’ market in the Conception Bay North community.
At a meeting last month, town council approved a motion to purchase the property at 204 Water Street for $35,000. It’s the site of a former Ultramar gas station that closed in 2009. The building that used to occupy the vacant lot was torn down the following summer.
Tract Consulting, the company the town contracted to complete the downtown revitalization study, identified that property as the potential site for an outdoor farmers’ market. In the report, Tract said the market could serve as a destination for purchasing fresh produce, artisanal foods and local crafts. It could also host musical performances, arts events, workshops and family activities.
The property itself is approximately one-quarter of an acre, nestled between the post office and a privately-owned parking lot.
According to a design concept included in last year’s report from Tract Consulting, the town’s land would accommodate off-street parking and space for an outdoor market.
It also suggested a covered market could be set up where the privately-owned parking lot currently stands, to eventually be replaced by a permanent building. However, it appears that aspect of the design may not be in play. Carbonear CAO Cynthia Davis told The Compass the town was only considering the purchase of the former Ultramar property.
Acting Mayor Chris O’Grady said the land purchase should be considered a preliminary step in this process. A major component of the downtown revitalization project begins later this year, with extensive work planned for sidewalks, pavement and water and sewer infrastructure along Water Street. That work may also include new street poles.
“That’s the focus for us this year,” O’Grady told The Compass.
According to the report from Tract, setting up the farmers’ market would involve a lot of work, with the overall estimated cost of the project coming in at over $1.2 million. However, if the town were to look at scaling down the market from what the report envisioned, that price tag would drop considerably.
“We’re still working on some of the details of the funding,” O’Grady noted. “We have some ideas, but we don’t know how the costs are going to come in. We’re still working with ACOA (the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) … and hopefully we’ll have some answers within the next month or two.”
ACOA was among the funding partners for the downtown revitalization study, along with the provincial government and the town itself. The projected cost for phase one of the work proposed in the report — covering an area from Adelaide Street to P.F. Finn Street — exceeds $5.3 million.