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Toronto Island Farm Could Be Saved By a Big Donation

Centreville amusement park's operator has put up $30,000 to keep Far Enough Farm running.

Donkeys at Far Enough Farm. Photo by {a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/squiddity-of-toronto/2348788006/"}squiddity of toronto{/a}, from the {a href="http://www.flickr.com/groups/torontoist/"}Torontoist Flickr Pool{/a}.

Far Enough Farm, a Centre Island fixture for over five decades, may be saved from imminent closure by a donation from the operator of Centreville, the adjacent amusement park.

At today’s city council meeting, Ward 28 Councillor Pam McConnell’s office announced that Beasley Amusements, the company that operates Centreville (and whose current president is the son of the man who founded Centreville in 1966), has committed $30,000 in order to keep the farm running through 2012, and has also pledged to match up to $30,000 in donations from the public.

Far Enough Farm, like other City-run neighbourhood animal attractions, had its operating funding eliminated during the 2012 budget process. It is scheduled to close on June 30th. McConnell’s office has been working to find a private operator for the farm, in order to take it off the City’s books altogether. Her staffers have been trying to accomplish that feat by bundling the farm with the Centreville concession, which is up for renewal. Beasley operates the amusement park under lease to the City, and will have to apply for a new contract as part of that renewal process.

By merging the farm and the amusement park, the City would be making the farm an ongoing financial responsibility for Beasley, or for any other private operator that wanted to run Centreville. This donation, if accepted by the City, will bridge the time gap between the discontinuation of City operating funds for the farm and the start of the new Centreville contract.

At today’s meeting, city council will vote on whether or not to consider a member motion by McConnell that would authorize the City to continue running Far Enough Farm for the rest of the year, using the donation money.

City documents say the farm costs about $221,000 a year to operate.

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