Charlottetown Farmers Market launches adopt-a-pothole campaign

The Charlottetown Farmers Market is launching an adopt-a-pothole campaign to help cover the costs of ongoing repairs to its large parking lot.

Donations will help cover annual repair costs

'We have small craters here and there,' says Charlottetown Farmers Market manager Bernie Ploudre. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

It's another sign of spring but one that's not welcome — potholes. 

Charlottetown Farmers Market manager Bernie Plourde says the market spends about $6,000 a year dealing with potholes in its gravel parking lot — so this year it's launched a new fundraising campaign urging customers to adopt a pothole.

"We're on a swamp, so every year around spring we get potholes and they just keep digging out at the hole and the hole keeps getting bigger and bigger until we have small craters here and there." 

Ongoing repairs

If they make the repairs too early, heavy spring rain washes out all the gravel used to fill the holes, Plourde said.

"It's a big investment so I get a lot of 'Hey, when are you going to fix the parking lot?' and that's usually in April and by the first week of May, second week of May we go at it." 

A market member helped provide a quick fix this week by grading the parking lot with his tractor. 

"Then we put the barricades so people can't use the parking lot throughout the day to allow everything to dry up and then by Saturday when people come in and drive through the lot hopefully they'll tamp down what we've graded."

Plourde said in a month, they'll pour more gravel into the holes, grade it and tamp it down again.

Big expense

It's too expensive to pave the whole parking lot, Plourde said — so the market came up with the fundraiser to offset the pothole repair costs.

The potholes have been filled at the Charlottetown Farmer's Market but a campaign to help offset repair costs is underway. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

Ploudre said they also want to protect the habitat around the market, especially the location where Lucy the duck lives and raises her ducklings each year after they hatch at the nearby Atlantic Superstore. 

With as many as 2,000 people visiting the market each Saturday and parking in the half-hectare lot, the manager is hoping customers will be willing to help. 

"We get a good following here at the market and if folks want to give a loonie or toonie to adopt a pothole — they're still there under this new gravel — they'll probably be back after this week, so we may make a month of it," Plourde said. 

Plourde is hoping customers see the humour in the campaign.

"Someone told me I should maybe change my [name] plate to 'grovelling for gravel.' But let's just start with a bucket and volunteers and see how it goes." 

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With files from Island Morning