Sunday, May 31, 2015

Improving Thursday Evenings in Pelham’s Peace Park

Over the last six weeks, Council approved requests from the Pelham Farmers’ Market, Pelham Supper Market, Fonthill Bandshell, and the broader community to help improve the Thursday Evening experience in Peace Park in Pelham.

And, based on some significant (and largely negative) feedback, Council reversed one of its earlier decisions.

First, Council approved expanding the number of Supper Market vendors and to include even more flavours and varieties. Some venders will also offer cooking demonstrations by local chefs using fresh produce from the nearby Farmers’ Market.

Second, Council approved the request from the Pelham Farmer’s Market to allow Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) wine samples and sales in the market (as permissible through a Provincial pilot program). Any wine purchased is intended for personal use at home. I took advantage of this opportunity last Thursday and bought wine from Calamus Winery. (Vineland Estates also sells their wines at the Fenwick Farmer’s Market – Wednesday nights at St. Ann’s Church.)

Third, because of significant feedback from the Fonthill Bandshell and the broader community, all of Peace Park will NOT be licensed for alcohol; only a portion of the Park – the northern part containing the Supper Market – will be fenced and licensed.

In mid-April, upon recommendation from Town Staff, Council initially approved licensing all of Peace Park for the consumption of craft beer and local wine. The Special Occasion Permit would have required placing a discreet 36” fence around the Park’s perimeter each week, except for six access points. Licensing the entire area was to be a trial and Staff were to report monthly to Council.

But, after meeting directly with volunteers organizing the Bandshell, the Farmer’s Market, and the Suppermarket, and listening to the significant public opposition to the change, Council reversed this decision in early-May.

In late-May, Staff recommended that the Bandshell hire Police to patrol Peace Park to ensure folks weren’t drinking alcohol in the non-licensed areas while enjoying the concerts. Instead, Council directed staff to hire security personnel to monitor the non-licensed area at the Town’s expense.

Finally, Council approved a joint promotions committee to help circulate a weekly newsletter about the features of the Farmers’ and Supper Markets, the Bandshell schedule, shuttle bus and parking information, and to review operations.

After considering the recommendations of Staff and the feedback from residents and some of the Town’s most dedicated volunteers, Council approved these improvements so that your Thursday evenings in Peace Park might continue to offer a unique experience of food, family, friendship, music and fun. Hope to see you there!