With public consultations on the Lansdowne Live development proposal to begin today, fresh uncertainty and some opposition were on offer alongside the produce at the Ottawa Farmer’s Market yesterday.
The market is currently located at Lansdowne Park, and while a home for it is included in the Lansdowne Live plan, many details have not yet been settled.
“There are a lot of questions from a lot of vendors as to what’s happening,” said Andy Terauds, president of the Ottawa Farmer’s Market.
The original plan, he said, included space for the market, but only about a third of the acre and a half that the market’s 142 stalls currently occupy. The revised plan calls for more space, but how much more isn’t known yet.
Terauds worries that the proposed relocation of the Horticulture Building would leave vendor stalls split into two groups, creating a two-tier market with more and less desirable space, like he sees on either side of the main building in the Byward Market.
“On one side is where most of the vegetable vendors are and so on, that’s the good side. And then the other side is where everybody else who can’t get onto the good side ends up. It’s not the primary location.”
Also key to the market’s future, Terauds said, is an affordable, long-term lease with the city, rather than with the Lansdowne developers.
Terauds said the Ottawa Farmer’s Market intends to have representatives at all the public consultations.
“I think it’s important for the public to be there and state their concern. If they feel that the market is an important place to have in the city, they should definitely be saying that.”
Walter Handelman, a member of Friends of Lansdowne Park, which opposes the plan, was also at the farmer’s market yesterday, handing out pamphlets urging: Stop. Think. Get it Right.”
“The current plan has nothing for children, nothing for seniors, nothing for picnic places, nothing for soccer fields, nothing to play cricket in, nothing for just a walk,” Handelman said. “All it is, is a shopping experience.”