Penticton council voted to allow the road closure for the Farmers and Community Markets, but not before hearing from Coun. Mike Pearce.
Pearce, who voted against the road closure permit, suggested at Monday night’s council meeting there should be some cost to those putting on the markets to cover the revenue lost on parking meters.
“I have seen statements where we clobber almost every other festival for lost metering, yet we are exempting this,” said Pearce.
The closure of the 100 block of Main Street results in the loss of 83 metered parking spaces. City staff said this yields an estimated loss of $1,080 of revenue, based on average meter collections of $40 per Saturday. The city also has a bylaw charging $10.50 for hooding a parking meter out of service for instances when someone is moving or has short-term construction. If that was in effect for the markets, they would be charged $20,044.50.
“I want to make very clear from my point of view that I appreciate what the Farmers’ Market does just so there is no confusion there, but I resist people from Keremeos or Naramata or wherever coming here and competing against Safeway, who’s paying a lot of taxes, then walking out of here with a healthy little profit. I’m not trying to be disrespectful. I love the Farmers’ Market, but I think they should come up to the plate and the other vendors in the other block. I think it is reasonable that we treat everyone on the same playing field as much as possible when we control the playing field,” said Pearce.
Mayor Dan Ashton told council that the topic has been scheduled for a closed-door meeting with those running the markets.