The wheels have been put in motion for the construction of a 10,00 square foot home for the Barrie Farmers’ Market (BFM).
This is part and parcel of the planned development of the Barrie Bayside Market Area (BBMA) which was approved in principle at city council on Monday night. The BBMA would be centred on the downtown transit terminal on Maple Avenue, in addition to the new BFM.
The transit terminal will be freed up when buses shift to the Allandale GO station, likely in spring 2023.
The timeline to open the BBMA is 2024.
City council agreed on Monday to spend $25,000 to assist the farmers’ market to run pop-up events around Barrie this summer.
Mayor Jeff Lehman said as part of the Market Precinct Task Force report last week, council heard from the BFM that they are very much of a growth mindset.
“They want to grow the number of vendors and the time the farmers’ market is open by going to additional days, so that by the time this building is ready in a couple of years, they’re even bigger, even better, and operating on more than just Saturday mornings,” Lehman explained.
Currently, the BFM operates at City Hall, outdoors from May 1 to Nov 1 and indoors at other times, on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 pm.
“One of the steps they would like to take to help get there is to start doing pop-up markets around the city,” said Lehman. “I can’t think of a better way to introduce them to residents who might not otherwise get downtown to the farmers’ market on a Saturday morning.”
Lehman said a pop-up market could appear at one of the city’s rec centres, a library or a park, and other locations as determined by the BFM.
He said the $25,000 could be staff-related costs in terms of preparing a parking lot or parking closures or assisting the BFM with other logistics, such as washrooms. The mayor added he anticipated a chunk of the funding could also be spent on joint promotion of the pop-up markets.
“This would be just another thing that can help delight our residents and bring the BFM across the city to different locations.”
City council has not been presented with a final price tag for the development of the BBFMA. Previous studies have put the tab in the ballpark of between $5.6 to nearly $9 million, with a yearly operating cost of around $550,000.
Deputy Mayor Barry Ward has said previously that he sees this project as a game-changer for Barrie’s west end.
Council will set aside $100,000 to hire a consultant to do a number of tasks associated with the project.
This includes preparing a plan to convert the transit terminal into a permanent market and construct a new building to house the Barrie Farmers’ Market, taking into account various consultants and staff reports during the past seven years, and the needs of the Barrie Farmers’ Market on the design of the building it would use.