Night markets could go head-to-head in Richmond

A vendor serves food at the old Richmond Night Market. That market is poised to make a return in 2012 as is its successor, the Summer Night Market. - Don MacKinnon file photo
A vendor serves food at the old Richmond Night Market. That market is poised to make a return in 2012 as is its successor, the Summer Night Market.
— image credit: Don MacKinnon file photo

Night market revellers in search of far-out food, trendy trinkets and outdoor entertainment could have two venues to choose from this summer in Richmond.

A former night market operator is making a bid to resurrect his outdoor attraction after a four-year absence—despite the presence of a rival market.

Target Event Production submitted an application to Richmond City Hall Friday, seeking a temporary use permit to open the Richmond Night Market next May.

If civic politicians approve, the market would open at the north end of No. 3 Road on Duck Island—a former industrial site near River Rock Casino Resort. Target Event president Raymond Cheung expects to attract 250 retail vendors and 80 food vendors, and promises carnival rides and a children's amusement zone at his Richmond Night Market.

"It's been a difficult four years for us finding a new home. We're excited now, because this is definitely the five-star location for the Richmond Night Market," said Cheung.

Cheung said his new site—formerly home to a cement plant—is close to Canada Line's Bridgeport Station and has parking for at least 1,000 vehicles. Despite the land recently being sold, he believes he'll be able to use the site for "two to four years."

Meanwhile, Paul Cheung (no relation) of Lions Communications is pushing forward with plans for his fourth Summer Night Market, which he started at a site on Vulcan Way after his rival failed to renew his lease.

"I am currently working on my lease with the landlord at Vulcan Way," said Paul Cheung. "I am confident that I shall have my application submitted shortly after."

Paul Cheung added he's not worried about the potential competition, noting most of his vendors have committed to another year with his Summer Night Market.

"The location is well known and I believe my costs is going to be much lower that I can attract more vendors and still provide free admission."

Raymond Cheung is also promising free admission at his Duck Island market.

It was 2000 when Raymond Cheung brought the first night market to Richmond. It's had several homes over the years, including BridgePoint and Lansdowne Centre. He last attempted to revive his market in the Starlight Casino parking lot in Queensborough but failed due to cost concerns.

City spokesperson Ted Townsend confirmed Raymond Cheung has submitted an application to establish a market. Once the applicant provides the city with more information that staff have requested, a host of city departments will review the application before it's forwarded to city council's planning committee for consideration.

Townsend said the prospect of two competing night markets makes no difference to the city process, which will consider whether the use is appropriate for the site, along with traffic, security, health and safety issues.

"It would be no different than two restaurants applying for a business licence," he said. "As far as whether or not there's room in Richmond for two night markets, that's something the commercial market decides."

Temporary use permits are valid for two years, but market operators must meet city criteria each year.

In previous years, both markets have operated from May to October.

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