Vernon politicians want assurances that main street merchants back a public market.
Instead of endorsing the Downtown Vernon Association’s plans for a market Friday nights on 30th Avenue, city council instructed the DVA Monday to canvas businesses on their level of support.
“I’ve talked to a few businesses and they don’t support it,” said Coun. Bob Spiers.
The DVA has been given until April 28 to canvas the businesses on 30th Avenue and report its findings back to council.
“I’m disappointed but we will go and get written surveys from the merchants,” said Lara Konkin, DVA executive director.
“We’ve spoken to every business we could and I am convinced we have the support of merchants on 30th Avenue.”
The DVA is seeking the closure of portions of 30th Avenue Fridays from 3 to 8 p.m. from May 2 to Sept. 26.
The market was originally supposed to move every week from one end of 30th Avenue to the other, but the current proposal now calls for the event to remain in one location for a much longer period.
“At my end of town, the market will be there June, July, August and September,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham, who has a business on 30th Avenue.
Among the concerns are the market may impact traffic flow for businesses, reduce parking and the vendors may create competition for merchants.
“I want to make sure there is buy-in from the merchants down there. If a majority wants it, I will support it whole-heartedly,” said Cunningham.
City staff asked the DVA not to shift the market weekly because it would reduce the impact on traffic and transit routes.
Support for the DVA’s plans came from Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe.
“This has gone through a large process at the DVA,” she said, adding that the event will help draw people downtown.
“It’s an evening retail market so it should be exciting.”
Konkin says many vendors were counting on a positive response from city council Monday.
“This delay may cause a delay in our proposal,” she said.