City Council has approved a lease agreement between the City and Mill Market Inc. in order for the company to establish a Farmers Market at the former Municipal Fish Hatchery site at 35 Canal Drive.
Mill Market Inc. is a division of Riversedge Developments (pictured).
The Fish Hatchery has been closed for some time, and, as soon as Mill Market has prepared the building for use (at no cost to the City), a temporary five-year lease of the site will go into effect March 1 and end March 31, 2019.
Long before then, however, Mill Market intends to eventually relocate the Farmers Market to a permanent home at the Riversedge Board Mill Building on the former St. Mary's Paper site.
Mill Market has agreed to then demolish the property at 35 Canal Drive.
The facility will give Sault and area food producers a new area to sell their goods, including produce, eggs, dairy, honey, meat, fish and plant nursery products.
The permanent Farmers Market at the Board Mill Building would be one component of a plan for a multi-use development (known as Destination North) by Riversedge and Blueforest Ventures, a plan approved by City Council last August.
Riversedge Developments purchased the old paper mill site in April 2012.
Riversedge Chief Executive Officer Justus Veldman and Mill Square Design Director Martti Lemieux spoke with SooToday.com Wednesday about the Farmers Market plan.
Lemieux said: “The Board Mill building lends itself perfectly as a face to the Farmers Market.”
“The designs are ready for that, but the building (the old Fish Hatchery) is an interim solution to get us up and going until our actual long-term Board Mill Market is ready.”
With the demand for a Farmers Market for Sault and area producers definitely there, Veldman said: “The current market has about 19 vendors at peak with the market near the Roberta Bondar Pavilion and Wellington Square Mall, but looking at the Board Mill Market, if it gets done in 2015 or 2016, there’ll be a huge leap in the number of vendors.”
“There’s enough momentum right now to have an interim market as a transition,” Veldman told us, estimating there is room at the old Fish Hatchery site for 32 to 38 vendors.
Discussions between the City and Mill Market Inc. regarding the use of the old Fish Hatchery site began in November, Veldman said.
Redevelopment of no-longer-used properties such as the former St. Marys Paper site and the Fish Hatchery for new purposes is the area of expertise for which Riversedge is known.
Veldman anticipates there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony in May.
The 2014 Farmers Market season at The Mill Market, located in the old Fish Hatchery building, will begin June 1 and run through to October 12.
Hours of operation will be every Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Stalls for vendors will be located both inside and outside the building, with a layout provided to confirmed vendors prior to the market.
Mill Market states: “Only approved products that are made, baked, grown, raised, caught or wild harvested by the approved vendor in Ontario may be sold at the market.”
No reselling of any produce or products will be permitted without express permission of Mill Market.
Vendors must follow food vendor guidelines and may also need to seek approval from Algoma Public Health.
Veldman told us: “Vendors that have an interest in selling home-made crafts, jams, vegetables, fruits, home-grown or farm-grown, are welcome to reach out to us and fill out an application form to become a vendor at the Mill.”
Meanwhile, the Sault Ste. Marie Municipal Heritage Committee, at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, recognized Blueforest Ventures and Riversedge Developments as the recipients of the 2013 Municipal Heritage Committee Heritage Award.
The award is presented every year by the City of Sault Ste. Marie in recognition of contributions to the preservation, restoration and enhancement of the city’s heritage resources.
The redevelopment of the former St. Marys Paper site, now known as Mill Square, includes five historic buildings planned for a variety of uses.
The historic buildings are part of the Clergue industrial empire that dates back to the late 19th Century.