The Houston Public Library will run the Pleasant Valley Community Market this year and beyond, and they are looking to broaden its reach.
Presenting to council last Tuesday, Houston Public Library director Toni McKilligan explained that the Library also wants to use it as a Library fundraiser. She also wants to have it held at Jamie Baxter Park and have it encompass more businesses.
“Traditionally, the farmer’s market has been affiliated with the British Columbia Association of Farmer’s Market, which restricts the type of vendors they can have,” said McKilligan. “Because Houston is so small, our market, while it’s thriving and doing OK, there’s just no room for it to grow.”
She added that BCAFM rules require that products be “made, baked, grown or raised locally, but McKilligan argues that because of Houston’s size, it gets challenging to find vendors.
Rather, she would like the market to encompass small businesses and artisans in the community that do not fulfil BCAFM’s criteria.
“If we make these changes, we could have different kinds of vendors,” she added. “We could also allow organizations to participate in the market to promote themselves or their programs. So we can make it more of a community event each week.”
Removal of this restriction would also allow visiting vendors, she added.
McKilligan also wants the market hosted at Jamie Baxter Park, but current zoning restrictions would keep the Library from selling products in the park without a licence.
“We have this wonderful big space right behind the library that would be awesome,” she said. “We could accommodate way more vendors that we have here than we can in the space that we had at the Steelhead Park.”
“We’re trying to either get a special licence just for our market or get it rezoned so that we can just hold this event here,” she added.
Houston Mayor Shane Brienen confirmed that District staff will now come up with recommendations for council to deliberate on at a future date.
Regardless of where the location will be, the Library also wants to change the day of the market from Fridays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., to Thursdays from either 2-7 p.m. or 3-7 p.m.
“A lot of people miss out because they can’t get there on Fridays because they are working,” she said.