New housing complex threatens to overshadow Kelowna’s farmer’s market | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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New housing complex threatens to overshadow Kelowna’s farmer’s market

The Kelowna Farmers and Crafters Market back in 2016
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October 15, 2019 - 7:00 AM

Talk about relocating the Kelowna’s Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market has faded away over the last couple of years but, with a major development proposed for the old School District 23 property next door, it’s likely to heat up again.

“Every year, when we start operating in April, we just kind of pray that they haven’t made any major decisions or haven’t got approvals for whatever they’re doing on that site,” Dave Price, the farmers’ market president told

On Monday, Kelowna city council agreed to hold a public hearing to consider rezoning the property.

The owner, Vancouver-based District Development Group, wants to rezone the land bounded by Dilworth, Baron, Durnin and Haynes roads from its former educational use.

The first phase calls for three buildings of six storeys each with 297 rental units and a 2,300 square foot commercial-retail space. The second phase may include two residential towers.

Eventually that will impact parking and, possibly, stall spaces for the farmers’ market. It has been using that site for parking for its Wednesday and Saturday markets that run from April through October.

The developer did not return a call from

The market is also just south of the property where Costco wants to relocate.

“Traffic is already a nightmare,” Price said.

The farmers’ market property is leased from Orchard Park Mall and, since Wednesdays and Saturdays tend to be the busiest days of the week at the market, Price said, he hopes they continue to leave the land undeveloped.

He’s only been in Kelowna for four years so he doesn’t have first-hand knowledge of earlier plans to possibly relocate the market.

Back in 2013 it was announced the market was going to move to a permanent site just across Springfield Road. That had followed a decade of discussions and, shortly after, fell through.

Then there was a 2014 plan to set up on Clement Avenue after the B.C. Tree Fruits packing plant was torn down. That caused a major split between vendors who wanted to move versus those who wanted to stay and led to the resignation of the president.

Two years ago a Sunday downtown market was opened.

“I’ve talked to the mayor once or twice and he really wants us downtown," Price said. “That’s why we took advantage of having the Sunday St. Paul satellite market because at least that gives us a foothold downtown. It’s a second market and kind of insurance in case the plug ever gets pulled by Orchard Park mall.”

He’s also thinking about a second satellite market, maybe in the Mission and he’s looked at the site across Springfield Road from Orchard Plaza but has got nowhere with the owner.

Price doesn’t see a desire on the part of vendors for a permanent indoor market.

“Our farmers, some of them are large scale but some of them are more mom and pop,” he said.

The larger operations travel to different farmers’ markets in the Southern Interior while smaller operators don’t have the resources to staff a market and farm at the same time.

Those that are more successful, like Canoe Coffee, move to their own retail outlets and no longer qualify to set up at the farmer’s market.

There’s only a couple of regular market days left in October then operations will move indoors at Parkinson Recreation Centre.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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