EDITORIAL: A market boost

While some have legitimate concerns, more markets in the downtown core of both Parksville and Qualicum Beach seem like a good idea

It’s not as dramatic a shift as it is in other regions, but the arrival of spring is a special time in Parksville Qualicum Beach.

We generally don’t have to pack away the snow shovels or throw the ice scraper into the trunk of the car for six months like others in the country. These are welcome chores for most in Canada this year after a winter of serious snowfall.

There was a special vibrancy on Saturday in Qualicum Beach, as thousands packed the downtown for the annual Fire and Ice Festival. The town is currently debating the merits of another regular market downtown.

The wildly popular and successful Saturday’s Farmer’s Market tucked into a perfect spot beside the curling rink and Legion, wants to expand by adding a weeknight market, likely Wednesday nights in the summer.

This would be in addition to the Qualicum Beach Downtown Business Association’s Uptown Summer Market on Thursday nights on Second Avenue.

It’s difficult to find a downside to the addition of more markets. There are some specific exceptions — closing Second Avenue to vehicular traffic on one of the first good work-in-the-yard Saturdays of the year has to be a tough one for Dolly’s Home Hardware, for example — but logic would suggest bringing more people to the storefronts downtown is a good thing.

Those who own the buildings or rent the spaces for their businesses on Second Avenue should be polled and heard, but we would guess this new council, elected on promises of more consultation, will be thorough in that regard. What happens on Second Avenue directly affects the livelihood of many local families who operate those businesses. The Qualicum Beach Downtown Business Association has some concerns about the Wednesday-night addition that need to be considered.

For so many businesses in Parksville Qualicum Beach, we have entered the time that carries them through the rest of the year. Make hay when the sun shines, is the old adage.

Parksville has a great summer market on Craig Street, but could learn a few things from Qualicum Beach. There is a vibrancy on Second Avenue from May through September that Parksville could only hope to match. Downtown Qualicum Beach seems more accessible, with places to sit and enjoy a drink, soak in the summer.

More markets bringing more people to the downtown, in both communities, might be a great idea.

— Editorial by John Harding

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