Vernon council wants firm proof of support for market

Instead of approving Avenue Market downtown, council instead called for merchants in that area to be surveyed for support

A Vernon event is set for another season, but some officials aren’t sure it should return.

Instead of approving the Avenue Market for four blocks on 30th Avenue Monday, council instead called for merchants in that area to be surveyed for support before a final decision is made.

“There have been three or four businesses who are not in favour and have suffered financially from the market,” said Coun. Catherine Lord.

“There is competition from the businesses (market vendors) who come in and don’t pay business improvement area taxes.”

Lord added that while the market stalls are being set up and the event runs, parking for the permanent businesses disappears.

Once the survey is done, Lord says 60 per cent support among merchants should be required.

“I want to make sure the majority (of merchants) are in favour.”

However, the market has its advocates.

“I don’t see it has direct competition. The market attracts people who wouldn’t be there otherwise,” said Coun. Scott Anderson of the opportunities the event can create for merchants downtown.

Coun. Brian Quiring, who sits on the Downtown Vernon Association board, says changes are being made to the format, including the number of markets going from 21 to 15.

“There will be positive steps to lessen the impact on business owners.”

With the first market scheduled for June 12, the DVA will be conducting a survey of street-level merchants in the first two blocks on both sides of 32nd Street prior to the April 13 council meeting.

Lara Konkin, DVA executive director, says businesses have already been contacted about the market coming back for a second year.

“Based on survey numbers, it’s still well in excess of 90 per cent (in favour) in those four blocks,” she said.

 

“It’s disappointing that council, for the second year running, would question the success of the market.”

 

 

Vernon Morning Star