A local farmers market is petitioning the city of Kirkland for the right to move outdoors for the summer season.
© Photo Keith McAuliffe
Founder of Kirkland Gardens-Farmers Market, Daniel La Tour wants city council to overturn a bylaw preventing the display and sale of goods outdoors.
Kirkland Gardens-Farmers Market owner Daniel La Tour is pushing for the removal of a city bylaw that prohibits the display and sale of locally grown produce, baked goods, and arts and crafts.
“The mayor and council need to come to their senses. We have a community that wants better lifestyle choices, which will help make Kirkland a better place to live,” said La Tour.
La Tour first learned of bylaw 9058 and subsequent amendments when he attempted to move the farmers market outdoor last August just outside Riocan Centre; management blocking his request, citing the said bylaw.
The small-sized farmers market has been operating out of DelMonaco’s deli on St. Charles Boulevard every Friday since December.
Three hours a week outdoors is all that’s needed, said La Tour.
“I think it makes sense for something that will benefit the entire community,” he added.
According to Mayor Michel Gibson, it doesn’t.
The Kirkland mayor told The Chronicle he’s already expressed to La Tour on three separate occasions council’s lack of interest in overturning the bylaw.
“If we start that we’ll have to accept every one of them. Yes, its healthy food like our grocery stores are offering. Yes, it’s a good movement, but for us we don’t plan to have a public market,” said Gibson.
The mayor said the addition of an outdoor farmers market “would hurt local businesses that pay taxes.”
Gibson was raised in Gatineau and frequented, with his parents, the semi-outdoor market, ByWard Market in Ottawa.
Gibson also questioned La Tour’s true intentions behind the operation of a farmers market outdoors –calling it a “profit-oriented business in and of itself.”
“There’s more than meets the eye. He has many endeavours” said Gibson, signalling La Tour’s intention to develop the farmers market as not only a place for the sale of local produce, but also stage live entertainment.
According to La Tour, there’s nothing wrong with an endeavour which supports local farmers and small businesses, all the while showcasing the talents of musicians and dancers.
Pointe Claire, Dollard Des Ormeaux, Ste. Anne de Bellevue, and Beaconsfield are home to outdoor markets. In fact, La Tour has helped run a seasonal farmers market both inside and outside Beaconsfield Heritage Train since 2012 without issue.
When asked why Kirkland strictly opposed outdoor markets considering its neighbours lack of resistance to the idea, Gibson was adamant that the “context is very different.”
With an average of 6000 square footage per Kirkland residential lot, the mayor said that many residents already compliment their weekly grocery with sizable gardens.
La Tour has garnered 58 signatures since his Change.org petition went up live last week. The Kirkland man will continue to push the message about the need for an outdoor market via its Kickstarter campaign.
Although his petition hangs in the balance, and doesn’t appear to change Kirkland council’s decision, or lack thereof, La Tour is also trying to raise a minimum of $5000 to make his outdoor market a reality through a Kickstarter. The money will help offset legal fees and pay for one seasonal employee.
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