Barrie is one step closer to turning the old downtown transit terminal into a marketplace. City Hall on Monday night voted in principal to go ahead with the plan, with the first step being the relocation of the transit ticket office. The structure at Barrie’s waterfront will then be slowly converted to a Downtown Public Market that may even be home to the Barrie Farmer’s Market. The market, as it is being presented by the Barrie BIA, would be a combination food hall, farmers’ market, and gathering space. With a primary focus on food, the public market would house at least a dozen stalls and communal seating under the BIA’s vision. The Farmers’ Market would move to a 7,500 square foot facility on the west side of the property, while the top floor would be occupied by the Sandbox; an “innovation hub” and entrepreneurship centre. Six local vendors have already expressed interest in renting space in the BIA-proposed facility. The idea to flip the transit terminal into a public market came in December of 2013, shortly after Barrie Transit stopped seeing the site as a terminal and more as a hub in an expanded transit system. City staff will conduct a transit hub study over the coming weeks, in an effort to find a suitable place for the Barrie Transit hub to be relocated, with Allandale Station being floated as a viable option. You can take a look at the proposed market through a website created by the Barrie BIA here. The project has been four years in the making, and apparently has become bogged down with studies and paperwork. Mayor Jeff Lehman Monday night passed a motion to keep that transit study to a cost of $100,000, noting a similar study had already been done when the project was first suggested four years ago.
Lehman’s motion also reduced the project’s timeline by a year, and instructs staff to start looking for ways to hew the $14 million proposed price tag by up to 30 per cent.