Saturday Community Market in downtown Penticton. (File photo)

Downtown Penticton Saturday market is dead if council doesn’t reconsider

Special meeting held at 1 p.m. today between the Downtown Penticton Association and council

The Downtown Penticton Association warns that the Saturday Community Market is dead if council doesn’t change its decision on the levy renewal approval process.

The Saturday Community Market was set to launch this May for the first time in two years. This is the biggest event the DPA organizes, drawing thousands each Saturday to downtown Penticton on Main and Front Streets.

This market is separate from the Penticton Farmers Market that also operates on Saturdays in the 100 and 200 block of Main Street.

Many vendors for the Community Market have already signed up, said the DPA.

“We cannot, under the circumstances, continue to accept more applications, therefore, you will be responsible for informing the public that you have effectively killed the market for 2022,” read the letter.

In a letter to the mayor and council dated March 17, the DPA describes the council’s decision causing ‘shock and despair.’

In the letter, the DPA requested an urgent meeting with council. City council agreed to hold a special meeting at 1 p.m. today, March 24 in council chambers.

“After 25 years in existence and two previous board presidents sitting on city council, this decision is unfathomable,” the DPA letter reads.

The letter was sent two days after the DPA was in front of council asking for a five-year renewal and to level the playing field on levies the DPA charges businesses.

READ MORE: City agrees to special meeting

Council instead is requiring the DPA to go out and get approval from 50.1 per cent of the property owners. They could prove too difficult and would unlikely succeed, said the DPA.

“This process comes with an overwhelming amount of work to be completed by April 30 and is a direct obstructionist move to normal operations of the association and is essentially an affront to the businesses within the BIA to take away any representation we provided on your behalf to the city,” reads the letter.

Most of the bigger landowners (like the banks) don’t live in Penticton, said Lynn Allin, DPA executive director.

In the letter, the DPA questions why council has done such an about-face after years of agreeing to the reverse approval process and with past presidents now sitting on council they are well aware of the unlikelihood of such a petition being successful under the timeline.

“The decision by council has far-reaching effects, beyond killing the DPBIA,” said the letter.

The graffiti removal program, security cameras and loss of jobs are also consequences if the DPA would cease to exist, the letter said.

The DPA was also going to take over Canada Day, BC Day and Music in Gyro Park. The city took those events over a few years ago and since then no events have taken place.