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Banff greenhouse society receives $45,000 grant

BANFF – It might still be the dead of winter, but things are heating up for Banff Greenhouse Gardening Society.
Banff Greenhouse
New owners of Cascade Plaza have told the Banff Greenhouse Gardening Society to relocate its property from the rooftop of the mall. The non-profit established its second greenhouse in Banff in that location in 2013.

BANFF – It might still be the dead of winter, but things are heating up for Banff Greenhouse Gardening Society. The non-profit organization recently received a $45,000 grant from the province’s Community Facility Enhance Program (CFEP) to help build its third greenhouse.

Last year council earmarked $70,000 in its capital budget for the project, however the society was only able to raise $18,000 leaving the organization short of the $125,000 needed to build the greenhouse.

In August, council agreed to commit an additional $50,000 so the organization could begin building the foundation and install a deep water line before winter to ensure the greenhouse could be assembled in the spring of 2019. That work was completed and now thanks to the $45,000 grant from the province the organization won’t need to rely on the additional money provided by council.

“With the success of the CFEP grant we will not need the majority of that $50,000 backstop that was kindly provided by council,” said Andrew Oosting, with the Banff Greenhouse Gardening Society. Once the greenhouse is built, he said the organization will notify the Town about how much money they needed to use, however he said at this point he only expects to spend $5,000 to $10,000 from the additional $50,000 they were given.

The greenhouse society built its first green house in 2011 at the rec grounds and a second on the roof of Cascade Mall in 2013.

Currently there are 59 plots available to the community, however when the new green house is finished there will be a total of 89 plots. Several of the new plots will also be accessible for people with disabilities. “Generally we reach two to three people per plot because usually a family is engaged with it,” said Oosting.

“We’ll be attracting 270 to 300 people just by virtue of those 90 plots, but it goes far beyond that because we partner with the elementary school and we just recently got a reach out from the Banff Daycare Society.” Coun. Peter Poole asked whether or not the public will be allowed to grow cannabis in the greenhouses now that it is legal for Albertans to grow up to four plants per household. Oosting said the public will not be allowed to grow cannabis because the greenhouses are owned by the Town of Banff and therefore are public property.

He said they also intend to address the issue in a formalized document to ensure everyone is aware of the rules.

The new greenhouse is expected to be open in May.

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