Edmonton·Audio

Indoor downtown farmers market launch faces last-minute setback

Plans to hold a kickoff event for the Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market’s permanent indoor location this weekend were dealt a last-minute setback on Thursday.

The show will go on Saturday, but will remain outdoors

The Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market at its former outdoor location on 104th Street. The popular farmers market was to launch at its new indoor location at the historic GWG building on 97th Street on Oct. 12. (CBC)

Plans to hold a kickoff event for the Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market's permanent indoor location this weekend were dealt a last-minute setback on Thursday. 

The popular city market was scheduled to launch on Saturday inside the historic GWG building on 97th Street and 103rd Avenue, but the city, citing lack of proper permits in place to renovate and occupy the building, put the kibosh on the grand opening as preparations were underway.

"It came out of the blue," Dieter Kuhlmann, chair of the market's board of directors, told CBC Radio's Edmonton AM on Friday. 

Another setback for the downtown farmers market. It is probably NOT opening inside this weekend, as planned. 6:31

"We had some crews of carpenters, plumbers, electricians working in the building to hook up amenities for different stalls, and I guess around 2 o'clock, one of the city inspectors walks in and just tells crews working there, 'You have to pack up your tools,'" Kuhlmann said. 

Year-round indoor market

Since March, plans have been underway to move the market into the two-storey, year-round indoor market, from its long-time 104th Street location, where vendors sold produce, meat, jewelry, clothing and other items every Saturday.

"The building is gorgeous," Kuhlmann said. "We were all set to have a soft opening this weekend on Saturday and maybe Thanksgiving Sunday. But that isn't going to happen.  

"But we're still going to warm the building from the outside in," Kuhlmann added. "This weekend we will have a market." 

The market's vendors will set up outside the building on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., along 103rd Avenue. 

Kim Petrin, branch manager of development services with the city, said the city issued a stop-work order because the owner of the building didn't have the proper permits in place to renovate and occupy the building. 

The city is willing to speed up the building permit process once the building owner applies for the correct permits, Petrin added.

"We recognize the importance of this in our downtown, and the support for having this kind of use within our community, so we would definitely be working with the building owner and through the permitting to find those solutions as soon as possible," she said.

While the market will be open outdoors only Saturday this week, the plan is to have it open Saturdays and Sundays outdoors until the permitting issue is resolved. Kuhlmann is hoping it will be resolved by early next week.

About the Author

Thandiwe Konguavi is an award-winning journalist, born in Zimbabwe. She is an associate producer and reporter at CBC Edmonton. Reach her at thandiwe.konguavi@cbc.ca or on Twitter @TandiwayK (https://twitter.com/TandiwayK).

With files from Nola Keeler and Emily Senger

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