Red Deer Downtown Business Association does not want to see the crowd-pleasing Red Deer Public Market leave the downtown.
A disagreement has emerged over the location of the summer outdoor market which takes place in the parking lot in front of Red Deer Curling Club’s Pidherney Centre.
The club wants to make the centre a year-round event space, but access is limited to the entrance due to vendor booths at the Saturday market.
Pidherney Centre’s board members were said to be in talks with city officials. The city concurred that it is involved in discussions to identify solutions.
Brandon Bouchard, Red Deer DBA board chair, said the public market has made it clear it doesn’t want to move, but the DBA would like to meet with all parties involved to come up with a solution should the market decide to move.
“Let’s get everyone at the table and bang out some ideas because that’s where the biggest successes are, when you’ve got all the stakeholders sitting at one table. That’s when you do your best work,” Bouchard said.
“We would love to be able to help, and help keep that market downtown in some capacity.”
He said the downtown foot traffic does increase from folks who are already in the area for the Saturday market.
If the market did end up moving, he suggested Capstone as a possible location where Friday night summer markets were hugely successful. While there were fewer vendors compared to public market, there’s always room for discussion.
Another option could be closing down some downtown streets to hold the market, he added.
“You see it in other centres in Canada, and other countries, where they do it all the time. It would be epic for the downtown, but logistically that could take some time to plan and get everybody on board. At the end of the day, we would just hate to see it leave downtown.”
Bouchard said nobody’s taking their foot off the gas when it comes to keeping the downtown a vibrant and attractive place for citizens to gather. The DBA’s goal is to increase downtown events from 139 to 250 a year between 2023 and 2025.