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Location of Red Deer Public Market is in dispute

Red Deer Curling Club members want the market away from their doorstep
Patrick Moffat, who operates the Red Deer Public Market, says he wants the market to stay downtown. (Advocate file photo)

The Red Deer Curling Club and the Red Deer Public Market are at loggerheads.

The market wants to continue operating in front of the club’s Pidherney Centre while the club wants the market to move away from its front doorstep.

Red Deer’s Pidherney Centre is home of the Red Deer Curling Club, but it’s also aiming to be a year-round event space. A problem in drawing events during the warmer months is that the entrance to the centre is where the Red Deer’s Public Market operates, said Reg Radford, a member of the Pidherney Centre’s volunteer board.

He indicated access is limited because of vendor booths, so most curling club members would like the market to move to another location.

Radford said the centre’s board members are currently in talks with city officials to try to find a solution.

The Red Deer Public Market has been around since 1970 and operates every Saturday mornings from Victoria Day to Thanksgiving in the large parking lot in front of the Servus Arena and Pidherney Centre.

While the market temporarily relocated to the Memorial Centre parking lot, when the Servus Arena was being redeveloped, it’s now back downtown. Market Operator Patrick Moffat noticed that every time the market’s had to move, it has lost vendors.

That is among the reasons, he stressed, “We’re not moving.”

Moffat, who leases city land for the market, considered other locations, including Capstone and Rail Lands, but can’t find another space that’s big enough for the market stalls while also having enough nearby parking spots available for market-goers.

Moffat recalled two former city managers told him the new parking lot in front of the arena and curling club was redesigned to accommodate the market, which has been a huge attraction for Red Deer.

Over the years, it’s drawn hundreds of vendors and thousands of market-goers and so has added millions to the city’s economy, Moffat added.

While he sympathizes with the curling club since government grants were reduced and groups are now needing to raise more money, he said several suggestions were made over the years that the club nixed — including setting up a pancake breakfast area in the market, or having a curling club vendor booth.

Moffat said he’s willing to meet with city and Pidnerey Centre representatives to try to work out a solution — but he said moving the popular market is not an option he would consider.

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