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Mission City Farmers’ Market wants to permanently move to Centennial Park

June 20 delegation to council gets general support from council
Patrick Penner / Mission Record

The Mission City Farmers’ Market is looking to relocate to a permanent home, with their sights set on Centennial Park.

Local food, horticultural, and arts and crafts vendors currently sell at the Welton Commons parking lot every Saturday from May to October.

But they need more stability, said Mike Gildersleeve, president of the organization. The Mission City Farmers’ Market has been in existence for 26 years, and have had to move six times.

“(Centennial Park) is at the heart of the community, and we could be the heart of the community,” Gildersleeve said. “A big part of our intent is to grow the market. It just gets better and better with more vendors.

Gildersleeve headed a delegation to council on June 20, asking for council’s help in making the move. Council expressed general support.

He said they envision Centennial Park becoming a destination market every weekend, where out-of-towners and locals alike gather, relax and sample what’s being sold. They’re also thinking of adding a food truck.

The issue with Welton Commons is there are no washrooms on site or room for cover, which is a cause for concern after last summer’s heat dome.

Centennial Park, meanwhile, has washrooms, trees, picnic areas, a playground, with easy access to public transit, Gildersleeve said. The group wants to set up on the south side, along 11th Avenue.

“This is a jewel of mission,” he said, adding it’s currently underutilized.

Gildersleeve said there is still some work to do, such as communicating with residents in the area and gauging their support. Another issue is around getting sufficient power supply, which would require some costs to the city.

Mayor Paul Horn said power supply could be incorporated into the parks department’s future planning for the park, and a generator could be used in the meantime.

When asked about parking plans, Gildersleeve said there is more parking on the west side near Grand Street, and some along the road to the east on Talbot Street.

Coun. Carol Hamilton said she’s always wanted to see Centennial Park turn into a smaller version of Lafarge Lake in Coquitlam, which has a shop, sports field, cultural events and an amphitheater.

“It’s a beautiful spot.”