November 30, 2015 - 2:30 PM
VERNON - The manager of the Vernon Farmers' Market believes some vendors will feel the squeeze as the group downsizes for upcoming arena construction.
Manager Ingrid Baron is expecting the market will need to shrink by a third to fit into reduced parking lot space at Kal Tire Place while the facility is expanded. Greater Vernon residents voted in support of the expansion project, which will replace the 77-year-old Civic Arena with a twin ice sheet at Kal Tire Place, in a referendum Nov. 28.
Baron is still figuring out exactly how much space the market is being allotted during the anticipated three-year construction period, but says they definitely won’t be able to have as many vendors. She says growth will be brought to a standstill because the market won’t be taking on any new vendors, and also expects a bit of a decrease due to retirements, but they’re looking at other strategies to downsize as well.
“Another thing we might have to look at is getting stricter on our catchment areas. Right now our boundaries are the RDNO and we do take on Lake Country and Falkland. We might need to tighten that up,” Baron says. “Our main goal is to offer fresh fruit, vegetables, and baked goods, so those will get first priority. Seniority will count. I think vendors will feel an impact, absolutely.”
Baron was vocal about the market’s needs leading up to the arena referendum, and is disappointed in the vote.
“We’re not against an arena, but the more research I do on this, the more I realize they said the arena was going to go to the west, that’s what we believed all along. We had no idea it was going to impact us as much as it does,” Baron says.
Baron wanted to see the expansion built to the west of Kal Tire Place rather than the north, but local government says that option is more expensive, plus the land is ‘currently unavailable.’ The property is the site of the Kin Race Track, and is the subject of an ongoing legal battle between the city and the Okanagan Equestrian Society.
Baron says the market will ‘make it work’ and is asking patrons for their continued support despite the changes. The Vernon Farmers' Market is a non-profit society that operates year-round at Kal Tire Place.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015