A spokesperson for the Peninsula Country Market is upset that their third and final Winter Market won’t happen this Saturday in Central Saanich’s Centennial Park following moves by the municipality. (Facebook/Peninsula Country Market)

A spokesperson for the Peninsula Country Market is upset that their third and final Winter Market won’t happen this Saturday in Central Saanich’s Centennial Park following moves by the municipality. (Facebook/Peninsula Country Market)

Central Saanich postpones weekend Winter Market, organizers upset

Lorea Tomsin said municipality’s move runs counter to provincial direction

A spokesperson for a Central Saanich Christmas market questions the decision to postpone its third and final event.

Lorea Tomsin, board president of Peninsula Country Market, does not understand why the municipality postponed the organization’s Winter Market scheduled for Nov. 28, pointing to the status of farmer markets as an “essential service” under the provincial state of emergency.

“Nothing has changed,” she said. “There are no other markets being cancelled.” Central Saanich describes the move as a postponement rather than as a cancellation.

Organized by the Peninsula Country Market at Centennial Park, the market held the first of three scheduled editions on Nov. 14, followed by a second on Nov. 21. Saturday’s would have been the third and final one under the initially announced schedule.

Tomsin said the markets so far have been a success drawing in excess of 600 visitors over four hours, while strictly following COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Vendors had also been planning for another market in Central Saanich later in December, planning now on hold. “If we can find another locale, we will go there,” Tomsin said.

Britt Burnham, the municipality’s manager of community services, acknowledged that while farmer markets can still take place in the province, the Emergency Operations Centre makes decisions about park use to ensure the best interest of public safety. Officials at Central Saanich’s EOC informed market organizers Monday evening – asking for understanding while expressing hope to work on future dates.

RELATED: Winter Market pops up in Central Saanich this Saturday

“This was one of those decisions, which we did not take lightly, but the district’s EOC believes it is a responsible decision considering we are experiencing the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases to date in the region,” she said.

Burnham also pointed to provincial documents spelling out the powers of municipalities to interpret provincial health orders.

The change comes after provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced several new measures designed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic on Nov. 19. She also issued several appeals urging British Columbians to think about what difference they can personally make, language Burnham referenced in explaining Central Saanich’s decision.

“While we get through the next few weeks, in which time we hope to see an improvement locally, the district is supportive of the provincial health officer’s ask to all businesses and organizations that we all take to heart the intent of recent orders, which is to reduce the opportunity for social interactions as cases are spreading in the community,” she said.

Burnham said she hopes that the community would be able to enjoy the market in a safer environment in the future, adding that the municipality has offered to make the park available again. The municipality had made the park had made the park available to the group at no cost.

Tomsin said the organization has not made a decision about the municipality’s offer, but expressed concern about the potential effects of the postponement on relations with the municipality, noting that the market is “looking for people who are more accountable and whose protocols are fair.”

She also accused staff of over-stepping their authority. “If you step over Bonnie Henry, you are stepping over your authority,” she said.

According to Tomsin, Coun. Zeb King plans to raise the issue of staff’s actions with the rest of his colleagues. King could not be reached for comment, but the Peninsula News Review will update this story.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A total of 10 flight exposures have affected the Victoria International Airport in April so far, making it the highest monthly total since the start of the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hits record-breaking number of monthly COVID-19 flight exposures

As of April 21, 10 flight exposures reported for the month

A new round of COVID-19 exposures has been reported at Dunsmuir Middle School, with potential exposure dates on April 7 to 15. (Google Streetview/Screenshot)
New COVID-19 exposures reported at Colwood middle school

People may bave been exposed on April 7 to 15

It’s time to upgrade Metchosin’s connectivity, some residents are saying. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)
Petition signals desire for Metchosin cellphone coverage

It’s crazy for a Victoria suburb to be a dead-cell zone, petition writer said

Bill Almond’s observatory in its new home on a Saanich lakeside. (Submitted/Cameron Burton)
Colwood stargazing dome makes a move to Saanich

The backyard structure finds a new home after 30 years

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read