Halifax market investors want loan repayment plan
Port authority wont meet with them
People who invested a combined $1.5 million in the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market are vowing to keep pressuring the Halifax Port Authority to negotiate a loan repayment plan with them — something port officials have so far refused to do.
"I've lived in Antigonish, I now live in Lunenburg, I've never lived in Halifax. But I wanted this to work and there are a lot of people that wanted this to work," said Tom Webb, an investor in the market.
"We still want it to work and do responsible things in order to keep it working."
Webb is one of 500 individuals who invested in the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market and had a loan agreement with the City Market of Halifax Co-operative. But a $10-million debt forced the co-operative into negotiating a formal surrender of the lease to the Halifax Port Authority.
The final stage of the transfer is underway and the Halifax Port Authority will begin to operate the market over the course of the next few weeks.
The individual investors — some of whom met Wednesday night at the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market on the waterfront — said they'd been trying to speak to the Halifax Port Authority about a repayment plan but the federal agency won't have anything to do with them.
Valda Kemp said she and the other investors want a say in how the market is managed.
"I'm very disappointed in the Port Authority that they will not discuss the things because the Port Authority has been very supportive of the market, they were paying for the consultants that were brought in here to try to make the market better," she said.
"You'd think they would take into account that they were paid the rent of 26 years."
Investors decide to keep up pressure
Webb said the investors have decided it's necessary to keep up the pressure on the Halifax Port Authority, the province of Nova Scotia and the Halifax Regional Municipality to get some answers.
"Do we want to have a farmer's market with a broad base of public support for some of the very active people who are willing to put their dollars on the line? Do we want that or do we want something run by a board appointed by some people in Ottawa?" he asked.
The Halifax Port Authority has not said what has happened to the millions of dollars owed by the City Market of Halifax Co-operative.
Farm Credit Canada, the largest secured creditor of the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market, was owed close to $6 million but the organization said after negotiations with the Halifax Port Authority it no longer has any financial involvement.
It's not clear if the debt was forgiven or transferred.
Investors who attended Wednesday's meeting told CBC News they had asked the Halifax Port Authority for details on the Farm Credit Canada agreement, but were told it was a confidential matter and couldn't get details.