Public market has received $440,000 from Town of Gibsons in flow-through funds this year

The cutting of the ribbon at the grand opening of the Gibsons Public Market on April 29

The town receives donations for the Gibsons Public Market, forwards the money to the market, and then issues tax receipts

By Margot Grant

The Town of Gibsons received a little over $440,000 from the public in donations for the Gibsons Public Market so far this year, says Director of Finance Dave Douglas. 

The money has been forwarded to the market, and donors who gave more than $100 may claim a tax receipt from the town for their 2017 income tax returns, Douglas told The Coast Clarion.

Gibsons has identified the public market at 473 Gower Point Road as a high strategic priority, according to the market’s website, which describes the town as a “project partner.”

Since 2015, the market has raised about $4.1 million through individual and corporate donations, the site says. “Our fundraising efforts continue to secure an additional $650,000 through private, corporate donations and government grants.”

The money will be used towards “the construction and equipping of the building.”

The Coast Clarion asked Nancy Grenier, who is in charge of communications for the market, for more information, but she did not reply.

The market has several financial obligations. In June, The Coast Clarion reported that the Gibsons Community Building Society (GCBS), which operates the public market, had agreed to pay 987152 B.C. Ltd., the owner of the market building, $400,000 before the end of this year, according to the lease signed on June 5, 2015.

There is still a mortgage to be paid off for the original purchase of the yacht club in 2014. GCBS is paying the interest on this mortgage in lieu of rent. The $400,000 mortgage has been transferred from the numbered company to GCBS in its status as lessee.

The town has a 39 per cent interest in 987152 B.C. Ltd. Other shareholders include the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation, Community Futures Sunshine Coast, and GCBS.

In a recent email, Pam Robertson, chair of the board of directors of the market, and Bill Humphries, chair of the board of governors, told potential donors that the funds will be used to support “a unique community gathering place that offers children, families and adults opportunities to engage locally and learn, share, connect and grow,” but no specifics were given.

“Your continued investment in the Gibsons Public Market as a gathering place provides meaningful experiences for residents and visitors alike,” it read.

The rental rate for the Coastal Room at the market, which accommodates 75 people, is $50 per hour for a non-profit, with a minimum of two hours, or $350 for the day. The Main Floor Atrium rents to non-profits for $60 per hour, with a minimum of four hours, or $425 for the day. Corporate and private rates are higher.

The public market is looking for an events and rentals manager at “a competitive salary with lifestyle benefits,” says the market’s website.

In 2016, the Town of Gibsons, which owns a 39 per cent share of the market property, first stepped up to help GCBS  by issuing tax receipts to donors for a total of $210,273. The town gave a total of $706,779.30 in flow-through funds to the public market in 2016.

One reason the town helped out: only registered charities can issue tax receipts for gifts and donations, and Canadian municipalities are considered registered charities according to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) guidelines. GCBS is not a registered charity.

Town staff called the donations “flow-through” funds because they were received as revenue and then transferred to GCBS.

In 2013, the town collected $275,000 in donations from the community and issued tax receipts to donors. However, those funds were not flow-through funds. The town used them to purchase a 37.93 per cent equity interest in the market property at 473 Gower Point Road.

In February 2016, the town invested $275,000 from the Parks Acquisition Reserve Fund in the market and forgave $110,000 in required frontage work at the market site.

The town also forgave the public market a total of $65,800 in property taxes  for the period 2016-2019.

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One comment

  1. Somehow this just does not seem right! How can these donations be charitable? Why did the market not get its own non profit status? Getting the the town involved was such a score for the market as they got the town to do all the paperwork for their donations using the town’s status plus forgive taxes and building road fees etc. We the taxpayer are paying for this.

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