With work taking place at the Canadian Tire parking lot, and fewer parking spots available to the Huntsville Farmers’ Market, the market is on the move.
Huntsville’s development services committee heard at its Wednesday, May 15 meeting that the market planned to move to the Huntsville Fair Grounds. (Opening day at the new location was Thursday, May 16.)
According to the report presented to committee, Canadian Tire dealer Ian McEwen offered another location to the market: the former Beer Store, a property that he purchased.
“The property owner offered to relocate the market to 7 Cann Street (old Beer Store property), however, the Market Board decided that this location would not meet their needs. The Market Board approached several other property owners in town and the Huntsville and District Agricultural Society, located at 407 Ravenscliffe Road, were quick to supply a letter of permission for the Market to set up on Thursdays during the market season,” wrote the Town’s Chief Bylaw Enforcement Officer, Andrew Stillar, in his report to committee.
Stillar noted that because the market, which has been at the Canadian Tire location for 30 years, would have more room at its new location, it plans on expanding, particularly since there is a waiting list of anywhere from 25 to 40 vendors who wish to participate in the market on either a full-time basis or as guest vendors.
According to Stillar, the Municipal Act authorizes municipalities to regulate such markets. Huntsville’s bylaw not only regulates the hours of operation of the markets but also the type of goods that can be sold, “so that only those producers and vendors, who sell homemade goods and home grown produce, are able to participate in the market. To ensure that there is local produce and goods for sale, the by-law also requires the markets to prioritize local vendors over those from more distant geographic locations. It also requires a set ratio of different types of vendors to ensure that there is a variety of produce and goods available and that the market may not be used as an outlet for such items as factory produced items.”
Stillar’s purpose for being before committee was to get approval in order to amend the Town’s bylaw to reflect the new location for the Huntsville Farmers’ Market. He also noted other amendments requested by both the Huntsville Farmers’ Market and the 100K Market. Both markets were seeking permission to sell wine, which he said would not present an issue as the sale would be regulated and enforced by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
The other request involved the sale of eggs. The “Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs regulates the sale, distribution, offering for sale, shipping, transportation and advertising of eggs and processed eggs in Ontario. Section 4 of the Regulation states that no person shall sell or distribute eggs that are ungraded eggs. The exception to this would include an egg farmer selling the eggs from their own property and that the eggs are not leaking. The 100k Market now wants to sell eggs as well. The regulations state that the eggs must be graded and inspected. The 100k Market has made assurances that this will happen before eggs are sold,” he wrote.
But before committee could discuss the requests, Stillar said he had been speaking to the manager of the Huntsville Farmers’ Market just before he went before committee. He said she questioned why there is a bylaw governing the market in the first place.
Stillar said the Huntsville Farmers’ Market is part of Farmers’ Markets of Ontario. “That’s who they carry their insurance through. They do not want to mess that up, sort of speak,” said Stillar, adding that the market has its own set of rules, which are enforced by the market manager who pays producers a visit. “They do kind of, I’ll say, police themselves in a way,” he said. “Because they don’t want to lose the whole idea of being a farmers’ market, they don’t want to lose that designation.”
Stillar said that given the surprising change of direction, he told committee that it would only be fair to also contact the manager of the 100k Market to receive their input.
Director of Development Services Derrick Hammond said some of the regulations applied by the municipal bylaw seem to be overly onerous, “like why would we care where the location is, why would we care about what certain items are there other than the guise of local produce,” he said while suggesting that the matter be deferred in order to have further discussions with the markets. He said that would give staff a better understanding to determine the level of change in the bylaw, while also answering “the fundamental question whether or not we need the bylaw.”
Committee agreed to defer the matter pending further investigation.
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