A popular attraction insists its getting the cold shoulder over plans for a new arena.
Officials with the Vernon Farmers Market say they could be negatively impacted if Kal Tire Place is extended into the north parking lot where vendors gather twice a week from spring to fall.
“If an additional adjacent parking lot is not built prior to the new facility, we would have to significantly shrink and the parking for patrons would be a mess,” states the VFM board of directors in a letter.
“Moving to a different location, even during construction, is not an option as we have too much invested in promotional material and signage and there really isn’t anywhere to move to. It should be mentioned that our lease is good for three more years.”
The VFM board questions why it was not consulted during planning for a new ice sheet.
“We strongly feel the solution is to build the extra ice sheet to the west,” it states.
“But we all know the real issue is the proverbial elephant in the city, Kin Race Track. The west option would encroach on the race track land and we believe this is the major reason the north option was chosen. With all due respect, it is time for the (Okanagan) Equestrian Society to move forward. The current condition of the site is a dangerous eyesore. Perhaps their history and legacy can be realized in a different way, including actually supporting local farmers by making the west option possible.”
Akbal Mund, Vernon mayor, doesn’t believe extending Kal Tire Place to the west is possible.
“The option to the west would go over water table and professionals say that wouldn’t be a wise idea,” he said.
Mund also says there has been consultation with the farmers market over a possible new ice sheet.
“Staff has dealt with the market and is looking for possible sites (for the market),” he said.
“We don’t even know if an ice sheet will happen so this could be jumping the gun.”
Currently, the provincial government has not approved the Regional District of North Okanagan’s plans for an ice sheet referendum.
As for the ongoing legal dispute between the city and the Okanagan Equestrian Society, Mund is confident that’s moving ahead.
“We will approach the society in the next month to try and reach a conclusion,” he said.
The estimated economic benefit of the farmers market to the region is $3.35 million annually and about 99,088 people visit every year.
“To put this into perspective, the Vipers would have to fill Kal Tire Place to capacity every single home game to match this number,” states the VFM board of directors.
“We are tourism gold and we don’t cost the taxpayer a dime. And now it seems we are being threatened.”