Business owners are decrying a proposal that would return the downtown weekly market to Baker Street. Photo: Tyler Harper

Baker Street businesses oppose proposed market relocation

The weekly Wednesday market could be moved back to Baker

A proposed plan that would return the downtown weekly market to Baker Street is meeting resistance from local business owners.

The West Kootenay EcoSociety asked the city in April for permission to move the Wednesday market from its current location on the 400 block of Hall Street and Hall Street Plaza to the 600 block of Baker as well as the plaza.

The relocation would necessitate closing that part of Baker to traffic.

Linda Randall, who owns the Tickle Trunk Shop at 645 Baker St., told city council Monday night that the proposal took business owners by surprise.

“They were shocked. Some of them are really angry that they are left out of process,” she said.

Related: EcoSociety requests Nelson help with markets

The weekly market that runs June to September was previously held on the 400 block of Baker before it was moved last year to its current location.

Now the EcoSociety has asked for another move based on safety concerns due to the open intersection at Hall and Baker, as well as what executive director Montana Burgess said in April is a poor visibility location that has led to lowered vendor revenues.

But Randall said a move back to Baker Street will be more costly for business owners.

She presented a list of over 10 businesses on the 600 block that oppose the market for reasons including scarcity of parking, poor access to businesses due to congestion, and food vendors who compete against nearby restaurants.

“It really affects the number of customers coming down to visit the shops,” said Randall. “Lots of people go to the market, but they’re not shopping at the stores.”

It’s not the first time the EcoSociety has requested use of that part of Baker. The previous council rejected a similar plan in March 2018 that would have moved the market to the 600 block. At the time, council not only agreed with business owner concerns but also included issues such as the need to reroute traffic, parking meter revenue loss and inability for handicapped drivers to use designated stalls in front of a pharmacy.

Randall said she was fine with the current location, but thought the market should be relocated to Cottonwood Market if the EcoSociety plans to grow the popular event.

Cottonwood Market hosts a farmers market on Saturday, but has been in construction limbo since its old stalls were torn down in 2015.

“If the city is investing all this money into facilities down there, why don’t they move their market down there where they’re not in conflict with buses or emergency vehicles or traffic or businesses?” Randall asked.

“It’s the perfect set up.”

City councillor Jesse Woodward ran the EcoSociety’s markets for seven years prior to his 2018 election to council. He said he’s concerned by the risk traffic currently presents to the market, but believes the event should stay downtown.

“I think having it on Baker Street during the summer, it’s a focal point for locals and tourists. It’s a really good amplification of everything the Kootenays is about,” said Woodward. “It’s also easily accessible. People can get there, they can shop there, they can support the local crafting and farmer community.

“I think there’s a lot of bonuses to having it right downtown and not some place outside of town or hard to get to.”

It’s not yet clear if council will vote on the issue or if it will be decided on by city staff.

Woodward said he isn’t in a conflict of interest as he no longer works for the EcoSociety, but added he would recuse himself if a council vote was held.

The EcoSociety, which runs the Cottonwood Market, GardenFest and the twice-per-summer MarketFest, also asked council to waive approximately $7,000 in fees to host the events.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Nelson’s Ryan Lewis wins main event at Fight Night 7

Lewis earned a split decision against Victoria’s Donny Cornelius

Warning issued after several overdoses in Castlegar

Interior Health says the overdoses appear to be the result of cocaine contaminated with fentanyl.

Leafs win seventh straight game

Nelson held off Golden 7-5

Green and NDP candidates talk strategic voting at Nelson public meeting

Wayne Stetski and Abra Brynne traded ideas but made no concessions for this election

Nelson sensei using martial arts to help Rwandan trauma survivors

Dean Siminoff founded Martial Arts for Justice

Spotlight on B.C.: 12 races to watch on Election Day

Black Press Media presents a four-part series into how B.C. will affect the national outcome

Greta Thunberg meets with First Nations chief in Fort McMurray

Thunberg has turned her protest against climate change into a global movement

Canucks hang on for 3-2 win over Rangers in New York

Vancouver scores three times in first period

More beef products recalled due to possible E. coli contamination

The food safety watchdog has been investigating possible E. coli 0157:H7

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Pot legalization has gone ‘well’, but ‘yellow flags’ on vaping: task force chair

Canada legalized cannabis for non-medical use on Oct. 17, 2018,

ELECTION 2019: Federal leaders hit final 24 hours of campaign

Many leaders remain in B.C. for the final hours of the campaign

Most Read