As a member of the Coldstream community, I am expressing my concern that the Women’s Institute Hall is not affordable for the Coldstream Farmers Market. The fees are excessive for the smaller group of summer vendors and barely affordable the other months when there is full vendor participation in the market.
Facility use bylaw 1641 sets rental fee at $25 an hour for non-profits and registered charities.
All others, including the Coldstream Farmers Market, must pay $40 an hour. While council appears to have the option to waive part or all fees, no exception was made for our local farmers. This is inconsistent with specific statements in the official community plan (citizens consuming locally grown food and strong viable agriculture) and inconsistent with community members’ feedback (to support urban agriculture including farmers’ markets in the district). Council’s disregard of its vision and its citizen feedback is baffling.
While the OCP pays no attention to matters of community social connections, the weekly Coldstream Farmers Market at the Women’s Hall did.
The market at that facility was not just about apples, cheese and vegetables. It was a community social hub where Coldstream citizens could meet, spontaneously make connections and catch up on local events. This did and should happen in a beautiful historic building owned by the community.
The benefits of greater community connectivity and participation have apparently been completely lost on council. It prefers the additional $15.
The monetary thinking is equally puzzling. The farmers market was forced to move out. The real loss isn’t $15 an hour, it is $40 an hour. Over the summer, the only weekly event at the hall, I’ve been told, is the Sunday church group. Accepting that there are the occasional and one time private (and therefore non-community based) bookings, it is reasonable to say the Coldstream community-owned facility is grossly under utilized by its members. This is tragic.
Please let me know what action will be taken to review council’s policy and decision.