Courtenay council will confer with businesses and the local Business Improvement Association before deciding whether to close roads for several hours once a week in the summer to accommodate the midweek Farmers’ Market downtown.
The Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association has agreed to host the market Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon at England Avenue between Fifth and Sixth streets in July and August. Staff recommends closing England from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to accommodate setup and teardown.
The midweek market had run at Comox Bay Farm.
On Monday, Mayor Larry Jangula and Coun. Manno Theos supported Coun. Starr Winchester’s motion to defer a decision until the next meeting Monday. Couns. Ronna-Rae Leonard and Bill Anglin were opposed. Couns. Jon Ambler and Doug Hillian were absent.
While happy with the Farmers’ Market, Jangula hesitates to support the move until concerns expressed by some area businesses are addressed. Jangula also questioned the proposed location, noting the market used to operate at Duncan and Fourth.
Anglin, who feels the market serves the greater good of the entire downtown, said the location is ultimately determined by the DCBIA. He also feels none of the issues such as lane access are insurmountable.
“Most things in life will impact somebody,” said Anglin, suggesting one complaint can shut down any event. “Are you (Jangula) saying if one person doesn’t like it, it won’t happen?”
By contacting each complainant, Anglin fears council will set a precedent and create unnecessary headaches for every special event such as the Canada Day celebrations.
Jangula felt the Canada Day comparison was unfair.
“This is a unique closure,” he said. “I’m not making this a big deal.”
Leonard said a merchant who had voiced concerns is nevertheless excited about the market.
“It really helps bring a vibrancy to the downtown core,” Leonard said. “I have faith that it can be resolved.”