Hay River’s Northern Farm Training Institute hosts a meeting tonight to get public input on developing its new campus.

A five-year lease has been agreed for the farm to take over the former site of Northern Pork, south of Hay River, between the sawmill and ski club.

The site has been vacant since Northern Pork’s demise in the late 1990s, though the barn from the pig farm still stands – for now.

“The site is on a beautiful ox-bow,” Kim Rapati, from the institute, told Moose FM.

“An industrial pig barn is still there – it sat idle for 20 years, so there has been vandalism and garbage, it’s kind-of falling in.

“We’re going to bring that old barn down and salvage the parts that we can, and it’s got a fantastic foundation that we can use. The idea is to use the infrastructure that’s already there in the most efficient way we can.”

Read: Is farming in Hay River about to become a big industry?

Wednesday night’s meeting runs from 7pm at Aurora College. Rapati hopes to hear ideas from members of the public, big or small.

“We’d really like to bring the whole community in on designing the farm campus and what types of things will be there,” she said.

“It’s little details like how we want it to look, what colours we want things to be painted, beautification stuff too.

“We’ve got the bones figured out but we want to see what other people’s ideas are – sometimes there’s stuff you hadn’t thought about at all, and a fresh perspective and some fresh ideas could be really exciting. We’re excited to share the map and pictures, and get people talking.”

Rapati and her colleagues expect to begin work on the site in late May or June, once development permits are in place.

Washrooms will be the priority, followed by the installation of office and kitchen units. Greenhouses and a large fabric barn are planned, alongside yurts for student accommodation in the nearby woods.

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