A farmers market is coming to Banff this summer.
After much discussion, council on Monday (May 9) threw its support behind a farmers market at the Central Park parking lot, but not before addressing many concerns, including parking and the mix of goods for sale.
Jolene Brewster, local resident and market manager, said she was overjoyed by council’s decision to temporarily allow a market for 10 consecutive Wednesdays between June 29 and Aug. 31.
“We’re really, really happy,” she said. “This is the first time we’ve ever been this close to a market happening in Banff.”
Council directed administration to draw up a detailed use agreement in accordance with the Town’s special event guidelines to help deal with some of the concerns that have been raised.
As part of that agreement, market managers must ensure there is an appropriate mix of food-produce and arts and crafts, with an emphasis on food and produce.
In addition, vendors will also have to abide by a ‘make, bake or grow’ requirement, with the exception of Glen’s Fruit Truck, which has been coming to Banff for about two decades.
Councillor Leslie Taylor wanted some assurances about the balance between food-produce and arts and crafts, noting residents would likely be keener on food and produce.
“I don’t want it to turn into just Glen, and arts and crafts,” she said. “We should have a substantial percentage of produce and food stalls.”
The loss of 37 parking stalls at Central Park for the vendor tents, coupled with the additional parking spaces needed for the vendors themselves, also generated debate.
As part of the use agreement, vendors will be encouraged to park in Cascade Plaza just two blocks away. They will also be required to report where they did park.
The planning department will also consider a pick-up and drop-off zone for those customers buying larger quantities.
“We’re happy to have a parking plan. We want this to work for the town,” said Brewster.
Coun. Paul Baxter said he loves the idea of a farmers market, but remained convinced the Banff train station or Banff Rec Grounds would be a better location given the loss of premium downtown parking spaces.
“I can guarantee you parking will be a huge issue; it’s going to be a disaster during set up and take down,” he said. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
But Coun. Stavros Karlos, who has been a long-time advocate for more parking in town, argued the best location was Central Park, as it would keep tourists in the downtown area for longer periods of time.
“Driving business out of the downtown core would cause me concern,” he said.
Mayor Karen Sorensen voiced her qualified support.
“I really do want to see this happen. I think it will add vibrancy and animation to the town,” she said. “I don’t want to sound negative, but we do have to look at all these issues because they’re valid.”
Council agreed to a request to waive the business licence fee for individual market vendors, but a total fee of $10,550 will be required for a 10-week period for use of town land.
The market manager is required to hold a Town of Banff business licence.