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Thornbury Farmers’ Market peeved at parking tickets for vendors

'We don’t believe that the original intent of the parking fees pilot was to drive the Thornbury Farmers’ Market out of business,' said market committee member Ron Barnett
The Thornbury Farmers' Market.

The Thornbury Farmers’ Market is taking concerns about parking tickets being issued to its vendors directly to The Blue Mountains council.

Market manager Elora Tarlo will be marking a presentation about the parking issue to council at its meeting on June 19.

In a recent letter to Mayor Andrea Matrosovs and council, market steering committee member Ron Barnett raised concerns about municipal bylaw enforcement officers issuing tickets to market vendors and customers.

“Bylaw enforcement officers have descended upon vehicles parked at the Thornbury Farmers’ Market and have issued parking tickets for the last two weekends to several vendors parked in the municipal lots during market hours,” Barnett said in his letter.

The Thornbury Farmers’ Market operates every Sunday in Thornbury from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from May to October at Smith Memorial Park in front of town hall.

“It seems obvious that this enforcement self-defeats economic development and flies in the face of permission that has been granted to the farmers’ market for the use of municipal property,” said Barnett. “After all, every vendor needs to park somewhere during the market and the park grounds cannot support vehicular traffic on the grass. This should have been a consideration.”

Barnett said other farmer’s markets around Ontario have been able to reach agreements with local municipalities for the usage of parking spaces during the hours their markets are open and operating.

He suggested that the local market provide a master list of vendors to the municipality who can then be issued parking passes to avoid any more tickets being issued to vendors.

Barnett noted that both market vendors and customers have expressed concerns about parking fees being charged during the local market.

“We don’t believe that the original intent of the parking fees pilot was to drive the Thornbury Farmers’ Market out of business or to halt it as an economic and tourism driver for the community. But in actual fact, the enforcement of this bylaw on market vendors is detrimental to the market's survival and has confused and angered some of our vendors,” Barnett states in the letter. “Customers too, are also weighing in on the $10 parking fee, indicating they will no longer come to the market due to the cost, citing the Collingwood Farmers' Market where free parking on the weekends allows customers to freely come and go and keep the numbers high. Also, our vendors often attend many other markets and have shared with us that Thornbury’s Market is the only one where parking is not free.”

Tarlo will present to council on behalf of the farmer’s market on Monday, June 19. The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m.

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About the Author: Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Chris Fell covers The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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