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Fort Macleod group has vision for aquaponic greenhouse

A conceptual drawing of the proposed aquaponic greenhouse to be built in Fort Macleod.

A volunteer group promoting development of a community aquaponic greenhouse in Fort Macleod now has a firm vision for the finished product.
Now the Fort Macleod Community Aquaponic Greenhouse Society needs volunteers with specific skills to make it happen.
Fifteen people turned out Wednesday at an open house hosted by the greenhouse society at the G.R. Davis Administration Building.
The society’s goal is to build and operate a passive solar greenhouse using aquaculture technology.
The greenhouse would educate children, support food sustainability and create jobs in town.
The greenhouse society received $16,300 from Alberta Economic Development and Trade to fund the schematic design.
Architect Mark Chambers presented a design of the greenhouse that would be built at the intersection of 20th Street and Sixth Avenue, on land now occupied by the outdoor Rotary Rink.
“Livingstone Range School Division has allowed this to go forward on that land,” Chambers said “That’s a big step forward.”
Chambers designed a 6,000 sq. ft. greenhouse building that would house fish tanks, equipment, an office and a gathering area.
There would be a mezzanine with office space.
“The design is very logical,” Chambers said. “It’s a highly controlled environment.”
There are gardens and landscaping outside the building, along with a parking lot.
The project is estimated to cost $1.5-million to $2.5-million.
“Everyone recognizes it’s a long term project,” Chambers said of the project launched in 2016. “The best things are long term.”
Chambers stressed the drawings he presented on Wednesday only represent a concept for the greenhouse.
“This is just an idea,” Chambers said. “This may not be built at all.”
Greenhouse society president Susan Glover agreed.
“It’s a representation of what could be, not what will be,” Glover said.
Chambers said the greenhouse will comply with Alberta Safety Codes and the Town of Fort Macleod’s by-laws.
The greenhouse society’s next task is to update its business plan, which includes using 10 per cent of what is grown to fund ongoing operations.
Society member Linda Gonnet said volunteers with business expertise are needed to guide the project, along with people who have building experience.
“We need more people on board,” Gonnet said. “We’ve done all the dreaming.”
Society member Ronda Reach said the Fort Macleod project will become a showcase of what is possible for other communities.
Community involvement is needed to ensure the greenhouse society gets the project done right, Gonnet said.
“How we go forward is a reflection of the strength of our community,” Gonnet said.
For information about the greenhouse society or to get involved, contact Susan Glover at smglover@telusplanet.net, Linda Gonnet at gonnet.linda9@gmail.com or Ronda Reach at ronda.reach@albertahealthservices.ca.

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Jim Martin Says:

    This may be better suited to the light industrial area. The suggested location will result in unhealthy light pollution to a primarily residential neighborhood. Increased traffic flow and limited parking is also a concern to the local residential neighbourhood. There is no clear business plan or any indication of an operational budget to fund this project. It might be better to encourage a commercial greenhouse operation in the light industrial area that would be self-sustaining. It is concerning to see the school offering up school property and very concerning that a location is being identified without any local residential consultation.