LETTER: Cottonwood Market stalls should be renovated

Reader June Hamley: "A new roof, paint job and stain on the logs would make the eyesore aspect go away."

I wrote this letter to city council and mayor and want it on record.

As a market vendor I am upset to learn of the city’s plans to tear down the existing structure at Cottonwood Falls, without funds set aside to erect a new structure.

It pains me to think that this once community-oriented space may be slated for development and the market site may be a parking lot. Nelson is for everyone, rich or poor. Plans for condos show me council is out of touch with artists because a new condo is not in most artists’ budgets. Vending, however at the Saturday market is doable for an artist’s budget and I for one, am able to sustain myself in those months.

Why not renovate the existing structure? A new roof, paint job and stain on the logs would make the eyesore aspect go away. One part-time vendor even offered to do the electrical work for free, as other volunteers would likely surface. And if it’s the people who seek shelter that council wants gone? Sorry, but that will never go away, because like Jesus said, “The poor will always be among you.”

So don’t gentrify our town. Don’t become like Whistler or Banff or communities that people like me moved away from because they lost their character, soul, and affordability.

Talking to other vendors I got all but a few to sign a petition asking for Cottonwood Market to remain at Cottonwood Falls for good, and that the existing structure either be renovated or left standing until funds are available for a new structure.

Two vendors also said they would refuse to come without adequate structure (including temporary canvas ones), one of whom was a farmer whose peaches, tomatoes, peppers, greens, and squash I don’t want to live without. Don’t make unnecessary challenges and obstacles (rain and dust) for those already most challenged: hard-working farmers and artists.

June Hamley

Nelson