The South Cariboo Farmer’s Market has found a new home at the South Cariboo Rec Centre this summer to make way for a COVID-19 immunization clinic at the 100 Mile Community Hall.
The District of 100 Mile House and the 100 Mile House Community Club, which operates the hall, made the decision this year to rent the Community Hall to Interior Health as it ramps up vaccine clinics. The move meant the farmer’s market and programs such as Kindergym, were left scrambling for new homes.
Rita Giesbrecht, chair of the South Cariboo Farmer’s Market board, said district officials told her it wasn’t feasible to have the farmer’s market at the hall this year because it would be too congested with the vaccine clinics occurring at the same time. The district is responsible for maintaining the streets, while the Community Club owns and operates the hall, which was built in 1956.
“We’re very used to just pivoting here in the South Cariboo,” Giesbrecht said. “We had to do it last year when the pandemic hit.”
Starting April 12, the hall will be the base of the South Cariboo vaccination effort, running Monday to Friday throughout the summer. Vaccinations for people over 80 are available now at the South Cariboo Health Centre, by appointment only.
Linda Jefferson, vice-president of the Community Club, said the decision to rent the Community Hall to Interior Health this year will give them a financial boost. The pandemic has meant the non-profit has been unable to hold events such as bingo nights or Christmas parties at the hall, which means it has little to no money coming in for major expenses such as fixing the roof.
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Rental rates for the hall are $300 per day or $150 per half day. Interior Health will rent the hall for the summer. “It will save the hall, we need this,” Jefferson said.
The hall has not had any upgrades since 1985. It has received a grant from the Cariboo Regional District but is seeking more grants and donations because it’s not enough to cover the $72,000 needed for repairs. Anyone interested in donating to the community hall is welcome to do so, she added.
Meanwhile, Giesbrecht said the new space at the rec centre parking lot will allow them to spread out and have more vendors than last year. She suspects the market this year will be brisker and will have more out-of-town vendors. All vendors will have to abide by COVID-19 restrictions before opening. The farmer’s market will be run every Friday in the South Cariboo Rec Centre parking lot from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. throughout the summer.
Kindergym also plans to contact the rec centre to see if it has space, organizer Shelly Joyner said. If they can’t find an alternative place to host the program, Joyner said they’re considering moving to an outside venue as spring and summer arrive. Joyner invites anyone who has a space within walking distance of the 100 Mile downtown core to contact her at 250-395-9303.
Josh Dickerson, general manager of the South Cariboo Rec Centre, said he was happy to welcome the farmer’s market. He said market organizers approached him as they have one of the biggest parking lots in town capable of hosting the event.
“It’s a lot busier than last year,” said Dickerson. “The more people around the building the better.”
Jefferson added both the farmer’s market and Kindergym would be welcomed back to the Community Hall next year after the clinic has wrapped up.