Visitors and vendors coming to the Thornbury Farmers’ Market will no longer have to worry about parking fees or tickets.
At its meeting on June 19, The Blue Mountains council agreed to waive parking fees for the town hall parking lot on Sunday until 6 p.m. when the local farmer’s market operates.
Market Manager Elora Tarlo was a delegation at the meeting and said parking fees for vendors and customers, as well as parking tickets being given out by bylaw enforcement have been a problem for the market this year.
Tarlo said the fees and tickets have led to market vendors and customers “who do not feel welcome in our community.”
She said the market is very grateful to the town for the use of a high-profile space in front of the town hall in Thornbury that provides great visibility and walkability for visitors to the market.
However, she said $10 per hour parking fees and the tickets being handed out have proved burdensome for both vendors and customers at the market. She noted that some vendors might only make $40 in a day.
Tarlo also said that other communities offer free parking for farmers' markets. In Collingwood there's no charge for parking downtown on weekends.
“It doesn’t feel like it promotes a welcoming spirit at the market,” she said of the parking situation. “We don’t believe the farmers’ market should be a target.”
Deputy Mayor Peter Bordignon immediately apologized to Tarlo on behalf of council and moved a motion to have the town hall parking lot fees waived on Sundays when the market opens.
“To affect the market in a negative way was never our intention,” said Bordignon. “We can fix it easily.”
Council unanimously passed the deputy mayor’s motion to waive the parking fees at the lot near the market on market Sundays until 6 p.m. The market runs every Sunday beginning in May until October 8. The resolution also asked staff come up with suggestions changes to the town’s fees and charges bylaw to recognize the parking fee exemption for the market.
“I’m a farmer myself, it’s tough enough to make a living farming. Especially for the young ones,” said Coun. Gail Ardiel.