A popular home-grown event in Coldstream is facing an uncertain future.
The Winter Farmers Market recently wrapped up its season at the Coldstream Women’s Institute.
Organizers of the market say scheduling conflicts at the Women’s Institute, where the market took place on Wednesday afternoons, have left the market without a home.
“Many attempts have been made to resolve the scheduling problems,” said Anita Fletcher, market organizer.
“Wednesdays are important because the vendors have markets in other communities and the timing is important because it allows more people to come to the market (after school for example).”
The District of Coldstream has confirmed that the Women’s Institute permit to host the market has expired and another has not been applied for.
“The Women’s Institute has indicated to us they don’t intend to renew it,” said Michael Stamhuis, chief administrative officer.
Jean May, CWI booking director, confirms the hall is now fully booked, leaving no room for the market.
“It wasn’t working out,” said May.
While the market was a popular venue, May says there were concerns about public safety as children were walking home from school while cars were doing u-turns and backing in and out amongst the afternoon traffic and school buses.
“It was just absolutely horrendous,” said May. “It was just getting hazardous.”
But it was an event many local residents, like Agnes Teaporten, looked forward to every Wednesday.
“Each week, I not only enjoy the food, but also the community feeling – seeing families, friends and strangers all enjoy the bounties of our agriculture,” said Teaporten, who found the location convenient to walk to.
Fletcher is concerned the end of the market could have a negative effect on the community.
“The market is intended to help farmers and producers in our area and provide healthy food for local families,” said Fletcher. “If the Coldstream Winter Farmers Market is allowed to fail it will destroy a vibrant, new and contributing institution in Coldstream.”
The market boasted 31 vendors (not all attending every week), and has steadily grown in popularity among the community – with a reported gross sale of $10,000 each month.
While it might be possible to host the market at another location, Fletcher says there isn’t a comparable building in central Coldstream.
“The hall is the best venue to hold the market because of its central location, proximity to buses, access to a main thoroughfare and customers can walk, bike, bus or drive to the market.”