Linda Randall holds a petition she has gathered from concerned businesses in the 600 block of Baker Street in Nelson, concerned about the possibility of the downtown weekly market moving there. Ludvig Drevfjäll photo
A Nelson shop owner is worried about losing business if the weekly downtown market is moved to the 600 block of Baker Street.
Linda Randall, who owns the Tickle Trunk, told city council she is one of several business owners who oppose relocating part of the market, fearing it will drive away their customers.
“This event eats away 16 days of the busiest four months, which is when most businesses make their bread and butter,” she said. “A lot of businesses float the rest of the year, just break even, and it’s the summer where we get most of our revenue.”
The market was held last year in the 400 and 500 blocks of Hall Street. But the West Kootenay EcoSociety has asked the city to allow the market to be held in the 500 block of Hall and 600 block of Baker instead.
But Randall says businesses in the 600 block have not been adequately consulted. Her own survey found 11 of 17 businesses on the block were unaware an application had been filed, even though the EcoSociety indicated to the city most did not object to the move.
“They had no idea. They were very shocked and some are very angry that they were left out of the process.”
City manager Kevin Cormack said staff will have to reconcile the conflicting survey results as part of their deliberations.
Although Randall thinks the existing market location is fine, she suggested moving it to Cottonwood Park, where the weekly Saturday market is held, makes even more sense.
Councillor Jesse Woodward was quick to respond to the criticism as he previously held the role as market coordinator for the EcoSociety before joining council in November.
He says the rationale to suggest the move for the market was concerns over traffic.
“For me it was safety. There was two pathways of vehicles that were cutting through the market as it was in operation,” Woodward told MyNelsonNow on Monday night.
Because of his long standing role in the EcoSociety, he says he would probably recuse himself should the move of the market come to a vote.
“It would be too complicated,” Woodward said, while pointing out that it would not technically be necessary for him, as he is no longer involved with the organization.