Downtown farmers’ market approved

Midweek version of popular event will be at England between Fifth and Sixth

  • Jun. 19, 2013 6:00 p.m.

Scott Stanfield

Record Staff

A Midweek Farmers’ Market will operate in the downtown core this summer, as approved Monday by Courtenay council.

The Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association has agreed to host the market on England Avenue between Fifth and Sixth streets on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon in July and August. The street will close from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to accommodate setup and teardown.

Last week, Mayor Larry Jangula and Couns. Manno Theos and Starr Winchester voted in favour of conferring with businesses and the DCBIA to alleviate a few concerns before approving the closure. Jangula, who was absent Monday, had questioned the proposed location, noting the midweek market used to operate at Duncan and Fourth. It had previously run at Comox Bay Farm.

At Monday’s meeting, Coun. Jon Ambler said the downtown core will never thrive if council feels compelled to solve every single complaint.

“Is it perfect? No. Is everybody happy? No. Can issues be resolved? Yes,” said Ambler, who was absent from last week’s meeting.

He noted the Canada Day parade happens each year, despite complaints associated with the event.

Coun. Bill Anglin suggests people sometimes need to be nudged when an event happens for the first time.

“It’s a learning process,” said Coun. Doug Hillian, who was also absent last Monday.

Winchester, noting parking is a downtown issue, questioned why the market could not be held at the Sid Williams square — which Anglin said is too small.

“I’m glad this can be resolved,” said Winchester, noting two banks had concerns about parking.

A study indicates the England Avenue location will result in the lowest net loss of parking downtown.

The Comox Valley Farmers’ Market has operated more than 20 years in the Valley. Saturday markets at the Exhibition Grounds include 60-some vendors while Wednesday markets have about 30 vendors.

The outdoor market runs from April to October. Come winter, it moves indoor into the Native Sons Hall.