Market president steps down

The brewing controversy over a possible move by the Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters' Market has its first casualty.

Market society president, Wolf Wesle, stepped down during a heated meeting Thursday night.

"Basically I was trying to keep the peace. Whether that works or not I don't know," said Wesle of his decision.

"It's a very unruly group - I'm sure you've heard about that. There was too much controversy."

That controversy stems from a decision by the board several weeks ago to relocate the popular market from its current location across from Orchard Park to a new development on Clement.

The proposed development, which has not yet received the go-ahead from the city, is on a large parcel of land which currently houses the BC Fruit Packers Co-operative Fruit Market and warehouse.

At the time of the announcement March 28, Wesle said the new location would have room for more vendors (185 to 195) and more parking (600 vehicles).

They would receive a guaranteed 15-year lease while costs per vendor could actually decrease.

Opponents of the move say the market has been successful for 18 years because of the location believing a market should, and always will be, in the centre of the city.

Society members voted against a move before the board decided, in a 9-1 vote, to approve a move.

Wesle says Thursday's meeting brought all those emotions to a head.

"I call the meeting farce. It was a shouting match right from the start," said Wesle.

"Anyone that was there would say it was...I don't know a good word for it....gong show maybe."

Wesle says he decided to step down before a motion was put forward to have the entire board removed.

According to society bylaws a vote of 75 per cent is needed to move a board.

The motion only garnered 65 per cent support.

"My resignation may have helped the rest of the board to stay in place. It might have helped defeat the motion."

Because of the controversy over the move Wesle says the board previously decided to hold off on a final decision until the society's AGM in February in order to gather more information.

Vice-president, Rachelle Zelaney, has taken over the president's chair.


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