By Ken Slemko
The Glebe Community Association Board heard from Andy Terauds, president of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market, at its October meeting. Terauds outlined a number of factors that have made the first year of the market’s return to Lansdowne a challenging one. He also noted that the merchants remain committed to the market and are hoping that they can resolve some of the issues they faced this year.
Terauds noted in his discussion with the GCA Board that some of the facilities that were supposed to be in place on the Lansdowne site were missing. These include anchors in the concrete to which the merchants attach the ropes that support their tents and canopies. In addition, water was in short supply even though the merchants were promised several water sources on the site.
Parking for the merchants and their customers also created difficulties. While many customers were able to walk to the site, the cost of parking at Lansdowne likely kept others away. In some cases the merchants had to park their vehicles significant distances from the market. Terauds also felt the merchants were not getting sufficient support, such as signage and advertising, to guide potential customers to the market.
Available Area for Merchants
The original plan called for the market to operate on all the area from the Aberdeen Pavilion on the south to the movie theatre on the north. The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), which is responsible for operating Lansdowne, insists that a two-lane roadway be kept open in front of the Cineplex. This reduces the available room for new merchants at the market. Terauds believes that having the larger area and more merchants would improve the overall viability of the market.
Conflict with Other Events – the Market loses!
On an occasion when there was a major event in the Aberdeen Pavilion and a Redblacks game, the Farmers’ Market merchants were asked to shut down early. Obviously this created a big problem for the market, and the GCA has asked OSEG and the City to make a major effort to avoid such situations because of the impact it has on the merchants.
Does the Lansdowne Farmers’ Market matter to you?
The market is currently negotiating a new contract. If you believe it should receive stronger support from the City and OSEG, you can contact the Mayor, Councillor Chernushenko and management at OSEG to highlight your concern. All efforts should be made to support the market in those negotiations so that a vibrant and viable Farmers’ Market at Lansdowne Park – surely a key objective for all concerned – can be achieved.
Ken Slemko is chair of the Glebe Community Association’s Lansdowne Committee.