Salt Spring market vendors will start returning to Centennial Park as soon as Saturday, July 18, with a limited number of spaces to be opened up along the promenade.
A temporary arrangement will see vendors able to rent 20 market spaces in the Capital Regional District park every day of the week, aside from Tuesdays and Sundays, with a Salt Spring Parks and Recreation park use permit.
Ganges Alley will also be hosting a privately run market on its adjacent property this Saturday, with a 60-vendor limit.
Salt Spring Parks and Rec manager Dan Ovington explained the temporary arrangement is in place at Centennial Park through Aug. 1 until a new market coordinator can begin working. Each day permit will allow operation between the hours of 10 a.m and 4 p.m. Permits will be made available on a first come, first served basis with submission of a COVID-19 safety plan.
“This will give vendors the opportunity to get into the park more often than usual, so that will help them supplement their income,” Ovington said.
Okanagan-based artisan Dawn Larden has been offered the coordinator position. Ovington said she has experience as a vendor and with organizing markets. She helped create the COVID-19 safety plan for a Kelowna craft market.
The CRD will implement its phased approach to restarting a larger scale market with vendors spread between Thursday and Friday dates at Centennial Park after Larden begins work in August.
“Once we’ve established we’re able to meet our COVID-19 health and safety protocols on Thursday-Fridays, we’d be looking to transition to Saturdays, providing everything goes well,” Ovington said.
The limited number of 10-foot-wide stalls are being used for the short term since there is not a coordinator to supervise the configuration of space or the usual vendor line-up to get in. Vendors will be assigned a specific numbered space with their park use permit. Each vendor will be responsible for ensuring health guidelines are met at their booth. Alcohol and cannabis products will not be permitted in the interim period.
Ovington said five vendors had signed up by noon on Friday for the following date. He expected the 20 slots to be mostly filled by the end of the day.
A petition calling for the CRD to immediately restart the market on Saturdays and skip the phased approach had gained 370 signatures as of Friday afternoon.