Investors lining up to back farmers’ market: People who buy into fund will get 30 per cent provincial tax credit

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The Halifax Farmers' Market is about to take the wraps off its $2.5-million community investment program.

Processing of investments ranging from $50 to $50,000 is set to begin within the week, market manager Fred Kilcup said Thursday as the organization moved forward with a much-anticipated $10-million redevelopment effort.

"We'll be making a formal announcement next week and have evidence to suggest the offering will be well-received," said the manager. 

"We've got 300 people on a list of names . . . who were waiting for the necessary approvals. We're confident community support will allow us to move ahead quickly."

He said investors in the proposed new Seaport Farmers' Market at Pier 20 on the Halifax waterfront will enjoy a provincial tax credit while supporting the local food movement and helping to revitalize the city's downtown core with a people-friendly development that will operate seven days a week. 

The market manager said advance interest shows the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market project will quickly achieve its community investment objectives and, coupled with a $2.25-million contribution from the province that was secured last year, should hopefully be on the way toward a fall 2008 opening. The fallback date is spring 2009.

Anybody interested in the market project and its state-of-the-art green features is invited to invest in the community economic development investment fund, recently approved by the Nova Scotia Securities Commission. But Mr. Kilcup said that to truly take advantage of the RRSP benefits of investing in the fund, a minimum investment of $5,000 would be required to cover associated administration fees and maximize the return. 

Nova Scotia is the only province offering this fund to encourage local investment. Most money Nova Scotians invest in RRSPs goes out of the province.

The province says that people who buy units in the fund will get a 30 per cent provincial tax credit. Shares are also eligible for self-directed RRSPs and additional tax reductions. 

Mr. Kilcup said the market, a co-operative controlled by 70 shareholders, will have several staffers handling inquiries and providing details on available tax credits when shares become available after the formal announcement of the offering.

The farmers' market public offering of $2.5 million is the largest among 41 similar community investment funds in Nova Scotia that among them manage about $25 million in assets. Although average individual investments in these funds were about $10,000, Mr. Kilcup said lesser amounts will be welcomed at the market.

"If you put in $1,000, you will still get your 30 per cent tax credit," he said.

The market manager said talks about additional financial support for the project are continuing with Halifax Regional Municipality and with Ottawa through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

An ambitious plan to move the market from its current location in the Keith's Brewery complex on Lower Water Street was announced in June last year. The new Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market will feature lots of open space and a host of green features, such as nine wind turbines, solar collectors and a rooftop sustainable garden.

 

( bpower@herald.ca)