BARRY’S BAY – The Township of Madawaska Valley held a public meeting Jan. 16 for residents to express objection to the proposed relocation of the Madawaska Valley Food Bank to a spot on Lane Street at the St. Francis Herb Farm.
Mayor Mark Willmer declared a conflict of interest to remove perception of conflict because his brother Bruce Willmer made the presentation on behalf of the food bank. The mayor left the council chamber for the duration of the presentation and discussion.
Council is debating an application to rezone a portion of the herb farm property from industrial to community facility.
Township planning manager Luke Desjardins told council that he has researched the community facility designation and, “the community facility zone is the consistent zoning for a proposed use of a food bank.”
Willmer told council that the current facility is about 19 feet by 19 feet and includes two freezers, several refrigerators and shelving units. There isn’t room for clients to enter the space. Food bank volunteers currently pack boxes and give the boxes to clients as they arrive. Clients and staff have to remain outside in the elements and there’s no privacy for those who use the food bank. The food bank serves about 130 families and, “that translates to roughly 250 to 280 people twice a month,” Willmer explained.
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