LETTER: Don’t remove market stalls without replacement plan

Reader Linda Buffy writes that she is a market vendor and her livelihood is threatened.

Re: “Cottonwood Market stalls to be demolished”

I am writing in regards to the tearing down of the old wooden structures at Cottonwood Falls where the Saturday market has been held for many years and attended by tourists from all over the world as well as locals who seek out fresh organic produce and other locally made crafts and goods.

I have been a vendor now for 11 years and this is my livelihood! Every year I have repeat customers from all over Canada and other countries who seek me out for my product which they have purchased in past visits to Nelson.

I am all for positive change but when I heard of the impending tear down of the existing market stalls with absolutely no funding in place for replacing the current structures, I was appalled, dismayed and alarmed. My livelihood is now threatened.

We need those structures to protect us from the high winds, the rains, the snow and other elements that destroy expensive labels on products and get things wet and make us feel miserable.

I come from St. Catharines, Ont. and the local market there is amazing: a glass-topped and glass-sided large structure which holds a market three days a week, all year round, and is well attended. It is one of the city’s renowned highlights.

Nelson is known as a haven for creative persons, artists, authors and crafters. Many tourists come to Nelson to experience this.

Until there is funding available for immediate replacement of the old buildings in place I feel it is a poor decision to remove the only shelters available for this market. To lose the market would be detrimental to tourism in our area.

I have heard many customers say things recently such as “It breaks my heart to hear of the destruction of the old buildings here. They have such sentimental value to we who have attended markets for so long.”

They are not, as one man said, an eyesore. Folks love the look of the wood and the character of it and the feeling of the market which makes folks happy to experience an outdoor venue that is very different than most outdoor markets.

Tearing down the old buildings as a way to eliminate transients is not the answer. Transients will find another place. And then do you tear that down as well? Just keep tearing down or cutting down parks etc. if transients sleep in them? That is not the solution for poverty and homelessness. I feel strongly that the old buildings need to be kept intact until there’s money in hand for new buildings to be constructed and until the general public and vendors who are concerned about their livelihood can all attend the Railtown public planning process this coming November.

The stage is used at market by local aspiring musicians and the food booth needs electricity as well for hot coffees and other hot foods. I am deeply concerned about this subject as I pay my house taxes and afford my lifestyle here in the Kootenays by vending my wares at the Cottonwood and downtown Nelson Wednesday markets (BCSpiritSoap). I wanted to express my concerns for the market.

Linda Buffy

Salmo

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