BEYOND THE HEADLINES: Think outside the lot

The Vernon Farmers Market should not see Saturday’s referendum result as a slap in the face

The Vernon Farmers Market should not see Saturday’s referendum result as a slap in the face.

By voting yes, those who actually cast ballots were only saying they back the twinning of Kal Tire Place because pumping cash into aging Civic Arena no longer makes sense. They weren’t implying that they don’t appreciate locally grown produce or don’t value the economic impact of agriculture. Many families linked to hockey, lacrosse, ringette and other sports may be some of the market’s most avid customers.

But claims abound that the market has been forsaken for the benefit of others.

The VFM Facebook page declared the referendum, “A very sad day for the Vernon Farmers Market,” while manager Ingrid Baron stated, “This community reminds me of a tree with only one branch. All the other branches keep getting cut off.”

Of course life won’t be the same for the market as its existing location will become a construction zone, but that shouldn’t spell the end of the VFM.

In fact, the perceived worst case scenario can be avoided.

But for that to happen, it’s going to take the City of Vernon, as the owner of the property, to be flexible and reach out to VFM and for market officials to move beyond the referendum result and think outside of the box.

Currently, VFM organizers insist they will stay at Kal Tire Place during construction, albeit the footprint will shrink significantly. Fewer vendors could negatively impact the customer base as the variety of products shrinks.

Instead, why not move to a temporary location, such as the performing arts centre or the curling club, where there is lots of elbow room? Or there is the Village Green Centre parking lot where the old Friday night market used to be.

Yes, VFM has invested in marketing specific  to Kal Tire Place, but the city could help facilitate the move through signage and advertising. And there’s also the reality that word of mouth about a new venue would spread quickly among residents.

The other plus to abandoning Kal Tire Place  for a couple of years is eliminating the potential hazards facing the public in an active construction zone. Are the city or VFM prepared for liability exposure?

Now if setting up shop on the other side of town isn’t ideal, one other possibility comes to mind.

Why can’t the market relocate to the parking lot and the covered concession area at Kin Race Track? It’s a large area and right next door to Kal Tire Place so traffic patterns among customers would remain unchanged.

Some will make the argument that the race track parking lot isn’t paved but neither is the lot for the Armstrong Farmers Market, which draws steady crowds. But if asphalt is truly an issue, perhaps the City of Vernon could put down a layer of pavement to accommodate the vendors.

And the best part is, a farmers market twice a week shouldn’t interfere with the never-ending legal dispute between the city and the Okanagan Equestrian Society over the race track.

Ultimately, there doesn’t need to be an us or them scenario between the city and the VFM or farmers and sports groups.

The entire community benefits from having an active population and food grown close to home, not to mention a diverse economy ranging from hockey tournaments to agri-tourism.

The good news is that construction of a new arena won’t likely begin until the spring of 2017. That means there is plenty of time for the City of Vernon and the Vernon Farmers Market to find a suitable resolution that meets everyone’s needs.

Shelve the recent conflict and look towards the future.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Okanagan Regional Library is holding a pair of online contests for its young readers. (File photo)
Okanagan Regional Library challenges young readers

Pair of contests online aimed at kids aged up to 18

Vernon Winter Carnival Cop John Fawcett (left) and Carnival director Paul Cousins are at Vernon’s Real Canadian Superstore on Anderson Way until 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 24, selling raffle tickets for a 2019 Polaris Snowmobile plus $1,000 worth of gear from BDM Motorsports. Tickets are $20. Only 5,000 tickets are being sold. The draw will be made Wednesday, Feb. 17. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Vernon Winter Carnival prize sled on display

Grand prize in Carnival raffle draw is 2019 Polaris snowmobile and $1,000 in gear; tickets $20

With a hockey stick and ice bucket to ensure social distancing, volunteers with the Kal Rotary Club collected cash during a drive-thru donation event in Vernon Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Kal Rotary seeks local non-profits in need of Dream Fund support

The deadline to apply for this year’s $105K in Dream funds has been extended to Feb. 28

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

(Hal Brindley - Dreamstime)
Enderby farmers caught between coyotes and bylaw tickets

The Smith family is stuck in a Catch-22 between protecting their livestock and incurring noise complaints

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

A Dodge Ram pickup similar to this one was involved in a hit-and-run in Lake Country on Saturday, Jan. 16. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Stolen truck involved in Okanagan hit-and-run

Incident happened on Highway 97 in Lake Country just before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Most Read