Permanent indoor space in works for a relocated Kelowna Farmers’ Market
Not only is Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market going to get a new home in the Landmark Centre next spring for its outdoor events, a permanent indoor venue is also in its future.
“Probably the biggest part for us, and the most positive thing, is that they're going to do more development and they're going to be developing for us a purpose-built space for both our indoor market and outdoor market,” market president Allie Becker told iNFOnews.ca Tuesday, Sept. 5. “We’re not exactly sure what that’s going to look like yet but it’s going to be a permanent home within the Landmark space.”
The market has operated on a year-to-year lease on land owned by Orchard Park shopping centre across Dilworth Drive from the mall for the past 28 years.
That two-acre parcel is now for sale and the listing realtor, HM Commercial, has posted a “pending” flag to it.
The Stober Group announced the market will have a new home in its office tower district.
The Farmers’ Market has talked to Stober a number of times in the past about other lands but nothing worked out until the company approached them again a few months ago.
“Landmark, right now, is really a commercial campus,” Lisa Lock, chief operating officer for the Stober Group, told iNFOnews.ca. “We’d like to make it a more complete community. So, that would be looking at some of the principles of what makes a complete community and really evolving it into a bustling hub.
“The opportunity to partner with the Kelowna Farmers’ Market is just really enriching the community and nurturing our local businesses and enhancing our community vibrancy and bringing people to the Landmark district to allow them to have a place where they can go and do their shopping. Stober’s values are very much aligned with supporting local craftsmen and farmers.”
The Capri-Landmark Urban Centre Plan was adopted by Kelowna city council in 2019 and was mired in controversy over the close to $100 million cost of doing things like re-aligning roads through the area stretching from Gordon Drive to Spall Road south of Highway 97.
The area brings a mix of retail at Capri mall and business offices at Landmark with quickly densifying housing in between.
Stober is now working on a master plan for its section of the town centre so bringing the Farmers' Market is just one element of turning the area into more of a village, Lock said. Redesigning the road network is another part of the process.
With its seven business towers and tons of parking, the Landmark is an ideal setting for the Saturday market, although the layout will be dramatically different than its current, essentially square, format.
“Saturdays will be glorious because our parking lots are free,” Lock said. “People will be able to park here and easily get to the market.”
The Farmers' Market has about 200 members but only room at its present location for about 180 vendors, Becker said.
There may be room for expansion at the Landmark as vendors can spread out from the Tree of Hope square stretching up to Dickson Avenue next to the new 23-storey Landmark 7. They could also use various other plazas in the district and even use spaces in surface parking lots.
But the market also runs Wednesdays, with about half as many vendors. At that time of the week, of course, the parking is needed for Landmark tenants.
“It might involve some collaboration with the city in terms of some street closures that might need to happen but we wouldn’t be compromising any of our commercial tenants or where they park when the markets are here,” Lock said. “There’s a finely crafted plan that’s being organized behind the scenes right now.”
The new market opens in April so there's time to work on those details.
The existing site will be used through October then move indoors on Saturdays, throughout the winter, at Parkinson Recreation Centre.
The physical move also offers the chance to revitalize the whole market concept.
“What we’re really hoping for with the whole move is to refresh what we do,” Becker said. “This is the perfect opportunity for us to not only revisit the way we do things but how the market is going to look and to really create a community hub there within the Landmark area.”
It's also, in a small way, taking the area back to its early European roots.
“The lands forming the Capri-Landmark urban centre were part of the Mission Creek floodplain and flooded on a regular basis in spring freshet,” the city’s Capri-Landmark Urban Centre plan says. “Early non-First Nations settlement led to the development of orchards and other forms of agriculture in the area, which continued to be the dominant land use for decades.”
The Capri mall opened in 1960 with Parkinson Recreation Centre and housing moving in over the next 20 years. The first of the seven Landmark towers was built in the mid-1990s.
“The area was segmented by several streams which were all linked to Mill Creek, the Capri-Landmark’s largest watercourse,” the planning document says. “The area was known as 'Five Bridges' for the five bridges crossing various creeks and streams in the area."
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