Relocate the Peachland Farmer's Market

QUESTION: Do you think the Peachland Farmer’s Market should be relocated to Cousin’s Field on Sundays?

I don’t want this discussion to alarm the Sunday Softball Crowd. Please consider that it’s only a discussion, and please take it in light of the opportunities the District looking into for new diamonds around town, too. If we’re considering this for the greater good, then let’s just do a little brain-storming to see what kind of options we have available.

These are just my thoughts as a Peachlander… it’s NOT a matter that has been brought before Council:

The Sunday Market can be pretty busy, but congestion issues have more to do with vendors than with visitors. Vendors take up parking downtown every Sunday from 8am to 3pm, whereas visitors might spend an hour or less at the market, itself. I’m merely speaking as a by-stander, but it seems to me that the market in Heritage Park has reached its limit with respect to size, congestion and parking.

It’s a lovely, little market in a neat location, but I’m wondering if it’s as good as it’s ever going to get? Yes, there’s room on the grass for more vendors, but I can’t see that there’s any room left for more chaos. I’ve heard traffic-signers and visitors cursing and yelling at one another… on Sunday at the beach! It’s not about bad traffic-signers or bad people, it’s just a symptom… an indicator of how far we’ve come. The good news is that my gut-feeling says we’ve gone as far as we can go. The bad news is that I think we might be hurting ourselves and this could even be limiting the success of the market.

In terms of both mayhem and success, I don’t see how Sunday Market Conditions in Heritage Park will be getting any better. I love the market and buy meat pies to give away to my friends every Sunday! It’s a beautiful location, and I don’t mind the congestion in the streets because I think it’s part of a fun atmosphere. With that said, it’s not the World of Wheels or Canada Day. I’m beginning to peer into the market as I drive past to see if it’s really worth all the chaos.

It’s at the point where I question whether it’s really providing any benefit to surrounding businesses, too. Their ATMs are surely getting a work-out, but I don’t see many people sticking around to spend money after the cash is dispensed. Food-vendors selling breakfasts and lunches isn’t providing any benefit to local restaurants. Our businesses pay taxes all year to be where they are, and their needs have to be protected ahead of vendors who only pay $25 for a market permit to sell food on Sundays. But fair or unfair, do we really want to tell food vendors that they’re not welcome at the Peachland Market? Food trucks at a market are a great part of the experience! A horrible five-dollar eggs-benny tastes better at the market, just like a terrible burger tastes better, or soggy fries and limp perogies taste better. It’s a Farmer’s Market, after all… it’s supposed to mean, “anything goes”, “no warranty”, “mommy I think my hot-dog is still frozen”.

PROS:
- More parking is available for visitors by Cousin’s Field.
- More out-of-the-way parking is available for vendors.
- Frees up parking for downtown businesses.
- Relieves the bottle-neck of congestion on Beach Avenue and takes vendor-parking off the streets… (I’d refer to this as “the chaos”.)
- Safer, as it separates visitors and vendors from traffic on Beach Avenue… also, the chaos.
- The Old School House and Community Centre is right there… great facilities that could make the market even better. A great market could make these facilities more successful, too.
- Swim Bay is right there. Ideal for entertaining the kids while visiting the market. Maybe keep skipping across to the market all day?
- There’s enough space to consider vendors parking their vehicles on the field behind vendor booths, (* There are safety considerations for athletes using Cousin’s Field. See NOTE at the bottom if you don’t think it sounds too crazy).

CONS:
- Sunday Softball Games would have to be moved to another day, or into Sunday evenings.
- Vendor Parking at the market would take away from parking at Swim Bay, although I get the feeling that the two will go together.
- Damage to the field must be considered. Pedestrian damage would presumably be no greater than Heritage Park, but vehicle damage could be more… damaging. This is a significant consideration as sports injuries and rolled ankles could result from a damaged field.

Please let me know your thoughts! Would moving the Sunday Market from Heritage Park to Cousin’s Field be a good idea?

NOTE: where I grew up, vehicles were permitted to park on the grass upon white sheets, and anything bigger than a mini-van wasn’t allowed. Any oil-drips or leaks would be absorbed and made visible by the sheets, and market organizers could flag leaky vehicles against parking on the grass in the future.