Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Aquaponics for the market house to cost $96,500

Robert Irwin (center) and associates discuss aquaponics at Monday's borough council meeting.

Industrial Designer Robert Irwin and two associates presented a proposal to borough council Monday night for an aquaponics operation in the market house. Aquaponics is a system combining conventional aquaculture (raising fish in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) with the aim of selling fish and produce year-round. They are asking the borough to invest $96,500 for the project.

The operation would consist of a market kiosk that would act as an automated farm for year-round produce sales. The crew would build and operate the system for the borough. From construction to operation will take about eight weeks. For example, using January 1 as the start date, the enterprise could be up and running by the middle of February, with a few additional weeks to get plants and fish operational. The proposal includes estimates of 3200 plants produced per year (10-11 harvests per year) and 500 pounds of fish per year.

Irwin suggested that once the project is operational, an agreement - possibly for five or more years - could be worked out. The plan is to use the kiosk as an "educational platform for the borough" with headquarters at the borough farm. During the winter months, the system would need to be kept above freezing.

The cost estimate shown below is good until the end of November. Irwin and his associates told council that they want to share liability with the borough and are not interested in taking a loan out for the enterprise. He explained that they did not seek private funding or investors. When questioned about the figures he presented (number of plants, etc.) Irwin said he has "no idea" if they are accurate.  He described the proposed financial arrangement as a business loan that gets paid back to the borough through a return on investment, with a projected 28-month payback time.

 Cost estimate

Aquaponics concept sketch

30 comments:

  1. You have to be kidding me. $95,000.00 IF If they want fish hatchery because thats what it sounds like let them pay for it.

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  2. NO NO NO NO NO!!!!

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  3. I say go for it! What harm is it going to do.

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    1. What harm??? Only another HUNDRED thousand dollars down the drain! Apparently you are not a borough taxpayer. Anyone recall the trolley lost about $25-30 thousand. Just keep throwing it away.

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    2. Must be a Coffee Shop supporter that does not care about the other ten thousand citizens. Wasting our tax money on a piece of over priced lettuce that will not taste any different from ground lettuce. Lancaster City did not want them, so they found suckers in the coffee shop.

      I like Chris Vera's Community Garden, it gave the borough an income right away with the possibility of new vendors with an assortment of vegetables.

      Paul W.

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  4. Keep it in California. I can see this failing in less than (1) year with a "strategic" business plan like such. Just plain and simply ridiculous.

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  5. Oh my.....I can't put into words how stupid this sounds. Anyone remember the episode of the Simpsons when Springfield bought a monorail. Yep, it's like that!

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  6. Go for it??? YOU FUND IT THEN!
    Not on my taxes!
    Set that up on Columbia Farm!
    Joke joke joke.

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  7. Sounds like a Coffee Club deal.
    Hellur!!!!
    COLUMBIA

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  8. We have a river full of fish and the best agricultural farmland in the country. Let Cle grow lettuce in his shower at home, and I will get Kramer from Seinfeld to shred it. Do not use my tax money!

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  9. This is a tree city, and apparently money is growing on them. Those leaves must be dollar bills, and appropriately they will be falling and collected and very soon gone.

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  10. Go to www.aquaponicsource.com and the smaller kits retail at $5995.00. How about they start with this and go from there. Of course this will be funded by them, not Columbia. I guarantee they have a profit margin for themselves in-bedded in this deal.

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  11. Take their idea and put it out for Public Bid

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  12. Forget it. When I first heard about it ,I liked it. But we do not have 95,000 dollars to start their business. The borough can use that money on street repairs. These deals usually end up costing more.

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  13. Go somewhere else don't use are tax money to do such a dumb thing in Columbia won't work

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  14. If the trolley figures are right, the borough should drop it for the future. It was worth a shot and did not pay off. If some other party wants to fund it in the future, let them. Should not be done with tax dollars.

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    1. From above: "The cost estimate shown below is good until the end of November. Irwin and his associates told council that they want to share liability with the borough and are not interested in taking a loan out for the enterprise. He explained that they did not seek private funding or investors. When questioned about the figures he presented (number of plants, etc.) Irwin said he has "no idea" if they are accurate. "

      Ok, so no bank in their right mind will give them a loan, no private investors are dumb enough to put money into this idea, they want the borough to be on the hook liability-wise, and they have no idea if the figures they presented are accurate?

      What's next? Are they going to sell band instruments and uniforms to the town? I mean this would be hilarious if it wasn't so pathetic (and I'm downright scared the borough would be stupid enough to fall for this).

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    2. "Borough knows best."

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  15. He's asking the boro to sink almost 100,000 into this and he has "No idea" if those figures are correct? Are you kidding? He should have been laughed out of that meeting!

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  16. The boro should just buy Chia- Pets.

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  17. If these people don't have there own money why do they feel the tax payers of Columbia should pay for it we are not a bank guess a bank won't give them the money

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  18. Ahhhh Remember the old days at Market?
    Buying produce, flowers, meat, baked goods, having lunch with friends, collectibles, crafts, the list goes on.
    The coffee club better get a grip!
    It's Columbia!

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    Replies
    1. uh....you can do and get all that now

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    2. Very limited,
      It needs improved

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  19. Also on the Monday night agenda under line 12D is the sale of land at the River Park. What kind of back door deal was done to acquire the land? Was this ever discussed in a Open Public Meeting and how much are the tax payers going to pay?

    TidePride!

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  20. Put that $96,000 in a savings account toward air-conditioning for the Market House. After that's installed there will be more vendors and customers.

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  21. No the sale of the river park land was never discussed at a open meeting another secret meeting alot of them go on




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  22. That land is already taken care of. Back door politics, just look at some of the land the borough sold to people with power and money! Cheep and cheep!

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  23. Totally Correct! Columbia is sliding down to the GHETTO

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