WHITE ROCK – Following a formal request from nearby residents, White Rock Farmers’ Market vendors have been ordered by city council to begin setup an hour later than they’re used to.
For the past few years, vendors at the market have started setting up their booths in the Miramar Plaza at 7 a.m., two hours prior to the Sunday market’s 9 a.m. start time.
But for residents who live in the tower directly above the plaza, that’s simply too early.
A letter from the strata of Miramar Tower A presented to council Monday reads, "It is in the opinion of the Strata Council that this is too early and the noise of the set-up is disturbing to the residents of the Miramar Towers."
The strata council requested the set up time be moved to 8 a.m. and suggested the market instead open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sandy VanDeKinder, president of White Rock Farmers’ Market, said it would be a "logistical nightmare" to setup at 8 a.m. for a 9 a.m. start time and urged council to reconsider moving the start time. VanDeKinder claimed they could look at changing times in next year’s iteration but said work has already begun on this year’s and the market would need more time than they had to change times for the coming season.
"We would need a year to educate our patrons and vendors as well as time to change promotional material," she said. "We haven’t been aware of any noise complaints at this time. This would be news to me."
However, White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin said there had indeed been complaints over the past few years and while he admitted it was a great social event and opportunity for citizens to buy fresh local goods, the impact on citizens has to be considered.
"There’s a lot of pluses for it but we have to recognize it is in the middle of a built up area," he said.
The strata also took issue with the closure of Russell Avenue during market hours, as part of the market spills out onto the street itself. Citing concerns about resident and guest access, the strata suggested vendors be relocated elsewhere around the plaza, leaving access to the towers open from Russell Avenue.
While council voted to move the start of the setup time to 8 a.m. as requested by the strata, they referred the issue of Russell Avenue’s closure to staff to explore other options.
Coun. Lynne Sinclair said with four months to go before the start of the 2015 summer market, there should still be plenty of time to prepare vendors and residents for a time change.
Coun. David Chesney excused himself from voting due to his involvement with the market, while Coun. Helen Fathers, the market’s operation manager, was not present.
White Rock Farmers’ Market is set to kick off for the season on May 24.