Farmers market supported

Resident wants an affordable rate at public hall for Coldstream market

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.

 

Terry Jones

Coldstream