The Comox Valley Farmer’s Market is hoping Courtenay can help find it a new home throughout the fall and winter months.
Between October 17th and April 3rd of 2021, the market was scheduled to move to the Native Sons Hall for it’s weekly Saturday Farmers’ Market.
But due to COVID-19, General Manager Twila Skinner says they are unable to fit in the hall while continuing to implement health protection measures, such as physical distancing.
During Tuesday nights council meeting, a letter sent in by Skinner highlighted some other venues that could work for the market, like the parking lot between the Sid Williams Theater and the Native Sons Hall, and the Conference Hall of the Florence Filberg Center.
The city’s Director of Recreation and Cultural Services, Dave Snider explained that COVID-19 will make it quite a challenge to find a suitable place.
“A staff report is going to be necessary. There is quite a bit of information and suggestions in the letter that would need to be addressed and pursued,” said Snider.
“It will be challenging for any facility to be large enough during COVID-19 times, especially for indoor use and tent support. Expansion of the existing booking will always tend to displace other users and that’s something the council will need to count on as well.”
He says although the market does fall under an essential service, there are still a lot of safety measures and requirements that will have to be adhered to.
“All of the other ministerial orders still apply. A limit of 50, which they have been working with down at the exhibition grounds and have been quite diligent but that gets a lot more challenging when we start talking about indoor space.”
“Another example is access to washrooms. With indoor spaces, it is a lot more challenging than it is with outdoor spaces, so there may be a need to put port-a-potties and different things like that,” Snider explains.
He adds that staff will be working hard to create a report before the market plans to re-open in October and give council some feasible options to choose from.
If all goes well, you could be seeing the farmer’s market again somewhere in the valley next month.