PENTICTON - Members of the Penticton Farmers Market are concerned the upcoming downtown revitalization work on the 100-block of Main Street, slated to begin later this year, could have negative impacts on the market.
Farmers Market President Moses Brown and Vice President Corey Brown (no relation) told council they are concerned about the planned changes will see the roadway narrowed. Moses said it had been difficult to completely understand the proposed changes, and noted the group had only received copies of the plan in February.
He said farm vendors need room for a vehicle near their concessions in order to keep their goods fresh during the day and the proposed changes will mean up to half the vendors would no longer be able to have a vehicle at their stall.
Fears were also expressed that parking stalls would be reduced, and much of the public is already having to park several blocks away on Saturday mornings when the market operates.
Moses said the changes will affect more than the farmers market though, noting motorcyclists in the PeachFest parade often use that part of the street for manoeuvres.
“We’d like to state that we are happy with the 100-block the way it is right now,” Moses said.
While expressing his appreciation for what council was trying to do, and acknowledging the market's 26-year relationship with the city, he said the market could study the dynamics of the street this summer.
As plans now stand the changes will affect the market in an adverse way, he said, with reduced space for vendors and visitors along with fewer parking stalls.
Corey hopes the city will centre the changes around the farmers market, and noted many municipalities which have regular markets created a space for them to work out of. He said he hoped, moving forward, Penticton could do the same.
Both council and staff expressed a willingness to work with the group to find solutions to the concerns brought forward.
Mitch Moroziuk, the infrastructure general manager for the city, said 35 truck stalls have been calculated to be available with the changes to the street, and in some cases bollards could be removed to allow more access.
Coun. Judy Sentes expressed surprise the Browns still had concerns, noting meetings had been held with city officials about their concerns.
“I think what you’re hearing again, is reassurance that we will work with you. Everyone, not just on this council, I see all my colleagues down there every Saturday. We know what this means to Penticton and we appreciate and value it, and we wouldn’t do anything to harm it, so I think there was a misunderstanding about what (city engineer) Mr. Chapman was endeavouring to explain,” she said.
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