Williams Lake Farmers’ Market manager Jane Bowser performing her duties in May 2018. Some of the vendors are considering running a Tuesday night market in 2019 in addition to the regular Friday market. Tara Sprickerhoff file photo

Farmers market proposes extra night market, permanent sign, storage unit

With a year of experience at the new site, the market board is proposing a few additions

The Farmers Market in Williams Lake is considering adding on another day a week during the 2019 season.

Farmers market board member Shawn McGrath and two other members appeared as a delegation at Tuesday’s committee of the whole meeting and told council some of the vendors are thinking of running a Tuesday evening market from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. as well as the regular Friday market, which runs from May 10 to Oct. 11, 2019.

“We’ve got some feedback from vendors and customers and it’s been positive,” McGrath said and asked city council if they would be agreeable to the idea .

Council agreed the additional day would be a good thing, with some members suggesting it would even be great to have some live entertainment if that was possible.

Coun. Marnie Brenner said she could see the additional market being an opportunity for residents to purchase more local fresh produce.

“An evening market would give people an option to go after work hours that cannot get there during the day,” Brenner said.

McGrath said the board applied for a grant to create a permanent sign at the site to advertise the permanent home of the market and said the board is willing to work with City staff on signage.

Leah Hartley, director of development services, suggested the board apply for a permit from the City to erect a sign.

“Where they might run into some issues is the liability insurance,” Hartley said, noting portable signs are exempt from the signage bylaw and don’t require a permit.

“I think the best route is to go through the permit process,” she said.

The land where the sign would go is City-owned park space so the City would have to sign off on the character of the sign, and placement of it, Hartley added.

In 2018, the market was moved from Boitanio Park to the parking lot between the Cariboo Memorial Complex and Kiwanis Park on Proctor Street at the request of the market’s board.

Farmers Market president Stephanie Bird, who could not attend the meeting, told the Tribune the new location is sunny and hot so they purchased some umbrellas, new tables and chairs for people to sit and eat.

“We never had infrastructure before and the market manager has to take all those things home each week,” Bird said.

As a result the board approached city council last year to ask about installing a storage shed on site.

McGrath told council the board is now considering using a cargo trailer instead and wondered if council would approve.

“It would be about eight by ten feet, painted nicely, hopefully with a mural or something,” he said.

Coun. Craig Smith voiced concerns about a cargo trailer being more susceptible to vandalism than a shed and asked what measures would be taken to protect it.

Gary Muraca, the city’s director of municipal services, responded he preferred the idea of the trailer to a shed.

“I think we could put a lock block in front of the trailer at the beginning of the year so it cannot be moved,” he said.

Staff will now create a report on all three requests for council’s final consideration at a future meeting.

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