KELOWNA – Kelowna is one step closer to having a new farmers and crafters market, but not downtown or on Springfield Road.
City councillors voted unanimously Monday to waive several conditions it set out on July 2012, including requiring a 25-year lease and a development plan for a company that seeks to use two properties on Benvoulin and Mayer Roads as an open air market. They plan to call it Mission Crossing.
Last December, developer Gary Tebbutt announced his company Compass Real Estate Development Ltd. would build a three-hectare Granville Island-style market on the old B.C. Tree Fruits lot on Clement Avenue. Many vendors at the current location on Springfield Road however, opted out of the move and the president of the Market Society was forced to resign.
On April 8 the owner of the Benvoulin Road property posted an ad in a local newspaper expressing interest in “proceeding with the development of a farmers and crafters market,” and it appears that owner has begun taking steps to make it a reality.
“We announce our intentions at this time because of the controversy concerning the Kelowna Farmers and Crafters Market Society as reported by the local media,” it read.
The notice was attributed to R366 Enterprises Ltd., the same name on the application to the city. The address is listed to Lambert & Paul Construction Ltd. on Spall Road.
Communications supervisor Tom Wilson says the city knew about the plans since 2012 and have been waiting for the developer to come forward with a proposal.
“This is just one step along the way,” he says.
Coun. Robert Hobson says he was disappointed the crafters and farmers of Kelowna could not work out their differences. In particular, he is worried the dispute could impact the viability of any site ultimately chosen.
“I’m a little unhappy to see the break up within the organization,” Hobson says. “If they don’t hold together, none of these sites may succeed.”
Aside from its principal use as an open air, public market, Mission Crossing will also include artisan studios, greenhouses, breweries and distilleries, community space, liquor store retail, market offices, a retail store, restaurant, galleries and parking. There will also be an area designated for a flea market, trade show or carnival.
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