Complaints about White Rock Farmers’ Market ‘blindsided’ board president

WHITE ROCK — Directors of White Rock Farmers’ Market will now have to decide whether or not the market will start later in the day, following a council decision to move their setup time.

For the past few years, vendors of the White Rock Farmers’ Market have been allowed to start setting up in the Miramar Plaza at 7 a.m. for their 9 a.m. start time. However, following a complaint from the strata of Miramar Tower A, city council moved the market’s setup time to 8 a.m. Whether that means the market will still open at 9 a.m. or move ahead remains to be seen, but market president Sandy VanDeKinder said she is confused about the whole situation.

According to VanDeKinder, prior to the Jan. 12 council meeting, she had no idea that there were nearby residents upset with the market.

"Up until December, I had been in correspondence and contact with the strata president and she had nothing to say but good things about the market and they were supporting us," explained VanDeKinder.

"At the end of our season in 2014, nobody said anything and so we were blindsided when we arrived at the council meeting expecting to get approval for the next year and all of a sudden there’s this letter."

The letter in question was submitted to council by Cliff Annable on behalf of the strata from Miramar Tower A. Annable, a resident and now president of the strata, wrote that the 7 a.m. start time was too early and a disturbance for tower residents.

"People are pushing back. (Starting at) seven in the morning for 21 weeks with blaring radios, people plunking stuff down, that’s not what we signed up for," said Annable.

Annable, said residents he has spoken to in the past few weeks have been expressing surprise that the market was not a cityowned event.

"There’s a lot of people that thought the farmers’ market was run by the City of White Rock," he said, adding that some thought the start time was set in stone because of that.

Coun. Helen Fathers, also general manager of the market, said she’s not come across of residents or businesses being confused about the organization behind the farmers’ market.

"I’ve never heard that," she said. "The market gets its permits every year and I’ve never heard that. I’m at the market every week and we’ve never heard that. We are a city-endorsed event."

For their part, VanDeKinder said they would have liked the chance to deal with the strata directly before the group decided to go to council and ask for a time change.

"It would have been nice to know that there were people that weren’t happy because as far as we knew people were," she said. "They certainly weren’t complaining to the people that could mediate the issue or do something about it. We didn’t know that. Our last communication with the strata president last year was that everything is fine."

The market’s directors were scheduled to meet on Wednesday (after the Now’s press time) to discuss what would be done with the market.

"So we’ll take direction and go from there," said Fathers.

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