The Gibsons Public Market Society formally began a fund-raising campaign Saturday with a gala that raised tens of thousands of dollars towards major renovations.
The cocktail-attire gala – called Cornucopia – sold out all 250 tickets to a roast beef and barbequed salmon dinner. The public market building on Gower Pt. Road was decorated, and extended with party tents.
The society expected to earn an estimated $20,000 from the $125 per person tickets — which included an $80 tax receipt – plus the take from auctions at the event.
Society president Nicholas Sonntag said its not clear yet how much the gala netted, but said it was a success by any measure.
“We are sensing a real enthusiasm in the community for the public market, the realization that this might actually be possible,” Sonntag said.
The dinner was the first step in a campaign to raise $2.5 million that will be used to transform the historic former Gibsons Yacht Club building. The society will be looking for donations and grants with the hope of beginning the renovations a year from now.
The property has been used for a May-to-October farmers’ market on Fridays, but the hope is to make it a community hub that will offer food, produce, art and entertainment.
There will be an artist in residence, a restaurant/bakery, established food vendors and a community kitchen. The plan also calls for a marine education centre. It is hoped it wwill become a destination for school field trips from the coast and the Lower Mainland.
Sonntag stressed that the market is a non-profit venture. Although the property is currently owned by a numbered company – which includes the town of Gibsons – the hope is that in five to seven years the town of Gibsons will become the owner.