By Chad Ingram
Published July 6 2017
While Minden Hills staff are recommending that the Minden farmers’ market be relocated from the municipal parking lot to the fairgrounds members of the Haliburton County Farmers’ Market Association would like the Minden market to remain at the downtown location.
Past president of the association Angel Taylor made a presentation to township councillors during their June 29 meeting.
Taylor was responding to a staff report received by council during a June 8 committee-of-the-whole meeting wherein community services director Mark Coleman recommended relocating the market held on Saturdays to the fairgrounds beginning next season.
The market was held there during flooding in Minden in May alongside the artisans’ market that also takes place downtown on Saturdays.
During that time staff heard feedback from customers and vendors that the cultural centre provided better accessibility parking and washrooms.
The staff report also pointed to the market’s popularity and traffic congestion in the village’s downtown.
“As a result of traffic congestion and lack of parking within the downtown core combined with an increase in vender registrations the director of community services is recommending both markets at some point be relocated to the Minden fairgrounds as a permanent home” the report reads. “To do this further discussion will need to take place with the farmers’ market association and the other events/stakeholders of the fairgrounds to develop a site plan that accommodate and work for all.”
However Taylor told councillors that the majority of vendors of the farmers’ market would prefer the market remain in the municipal parking lot.
“We think it is important to be on the record” she said adding the association had polled its members and that vendors overwhelmingly preferred to remain at the current location.
“As a vendor I can say it is our best market” Taylor said. “We do very well in that downtown lot.”
She added there is not enough visibility at the fairgrounds and that the beauty of the grassy area is trumped by the busy atmosphere of the downtown core.
“Over the bridge and out of sight we are just not going to get the patron base” Taylor said.
While the market’s manager had inquired about more space Taylor said that was an exploratory request and that market association can work with the existing space.
There is a maximum of 20 vendors at the Minden market and Taylor said most Saturdays there are about 15.
The market will remain in the parking lot for the rest of this season and council will discuss the issue at a later date.