On the fence with year-round market

City council had its first look at the concept of a year-round market for Red Deer earlier this week.

There were a couple of main ways put forward to run such a market. One, private ownership with City investment or City-ownership and a contracted operation.

We’re happy to see that council appears to be onboard with a year-round market.

But City council was divided on how to move forward at this point and after much debate, it was decided they will take a second look at the idea in two weeks.

There are lots of advantages to the market plan — it would give people an alternative to shop locally and to support local businesses and growers. It would of course be indoors, so weather wouldn’t be a factor. Ultimately, it would also provide an enjoyable shopping alternative to the malls and myriads of box stores.

It’s would also offer ‘destination’ shopping – people heading to the site for an overall community experience. It likely wouldn’t be all about shopping, but could very well provide an attractive social setting as well.

But there are a few concerns. Hopefully it wouldn’t turn into a giant garage sale over time, where people are hauling in their old furniture, books, clothes and other items from home. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with neighbourhood garage sales, but that’s not the goal for a year-round community market in the heart of the City.

Also, where would the fresh produce and food come from during the winter months? Finding suitable, consistent vendors may be more of a challenge than first thought.

The idea of having a year-round market in Red Deer has been bounced around for nearly a year now, and it’s likely that many have thought for years that it’s just the thing for the City.

Currently, we enjoy a thriving summer season farmer’s market off the downtown core. Thousands of people drop by every Saturday from May through to October for all kinds of goodies. There’s also entertainment, there are buskers and all kinds of foods to enjoy.

How would the establishment of a year-round market impact the extremely popular farmer’s market? How would this affect vendors in determining which one to support? Is that a concern at all?

Plus, a downtown market opened last year on Wednesdays through the summer months and the public quickly embraced the idea. This particular market will be back next season.

Ultimately, the year-round market sounds like a great idea in principle but there are lots of details to consider before the concept comes to fruition.