The Ambleside Artisan Farmers’ Market can start putting down roots in the neighbourhood it is named after.
District of West Vancouver council voted Monday night to move the market to the parking lot off Argyle Avenue at the entrance to Ambleside Park.
The district had been looking for a new temporary home for the market after business owners, residents and cyclists grew weary of the weekly road closures on the 1500 block of Bellevue Avenue.
Council rejected a plan last month to move the market to the plaza on the north side of the West Vancouver Community Centre, in part, because it would move the Ambleside market out of Ambleside.
After going back to the drawing board with the market’s managers, staff determined the Ambleside Park parking lot would be the “most viable” due to its size, nearby washrooms and access to electricity and running water.
The market is open every Sunday from May to October.
While the new location will come at the cost of 49 parking spaces, the district is opening up the gravel sports field about 250 metres to the east opening up another 90 parking spaces for visitors and vendors’ vehicles. The field is not well used during the summer months, according to district staff.
The move has the support of the farmers market board of directors and the Ambleside and Dundarave Business Improvement Association.
The last official debate on the matter in February divided council but the vote for the new location was unanimous.
Members of council, the local business community and the market’s managers praised district staff for “turning over every stone” to find the right site to host the artisan honey dealers and hawkers of organic produce.
“Taking the extra time to accommodate everyone’s preferences was worth the effort. I am fully supportive of this location and thank you for being creative, staff and everyone, including the farmers’ market,” said Coun. Mary-Ann Booth, before casting her vote.
By December 2018, council should be ready to decide on a permanent location in the neighbourhood as the district winds up its Ambleside waterfront plan. But that may not be necessary, Coun. Bill Soprovich suggested.
“I actually feel that this is going to be a site they’ll never want to leave in the future. I think it’s perfect and I think it will grow from there,” he said.
David Jones, a local business owner, said news of the change is being welcomed by his fellow bricks-and-mortar merchants.
“Speaking to a couple people since the last meeting about the farmers’ market, when I mentioned there was talk of Ambleside Park) two of them just lit up like Christmas trees,” he said.