LEAMINGTON, Ontario — With the continuing growth of the Ontario greenhouse industry, it is no surprise that the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Association is growing along with it.
For the past decade the association headquarters has been in the corner offices of a small strip mall on Talbot Street in Leamington. The driveway into the parking lot serves double duty as an entrance for the association and an exit for the adjacent Tim Hortons fast food restaurant drive-up window.
But, beginning in April association employees and grower members will have their own driveway, parking lot and building at 32 Seneca Drive in southeast Leamington.
“Our growers wanted to get back to a grower-owned building,” said George Gilvesy, general manager of the association.
“We have more demands all the time. Our market call room, for example, is too small to accommodate our regular meetings.”
The new building and other association expenses are paid for with a mandatory assessment of 2.51 cents per square foot that greenhouse vegetable growers in the province pay.
In addition to more office and parking space, the new building has educational facilities, specifically in response to grower member requests.
A classroom with theater-type seating will be used for continuing education programs for growers.
“There is more and more interest from colleges and community colleges for a space for greenhouse employee training programs,” Gilvesy said, adding that the facility will also make it easier for association members to gather for meetings.
The association membership for 2012 is 223 growers, down one from 2011.
Gilvesy said the association’s numbers got a boost about six years ago when members approved the admission of pepper growers with more than a two-thirds majority vote.