June 3, 2020
Nelson & District Youth Centre Steps in to Fill the Gap
Nelson, BC - The Nelson & District Youth Centre will assume operations of the Wednesday and Saturday farmer’s markets at Cottonwood Falls Park. Council’s goal is to ensure the markets are able to run for the full season in a cost-effective manner. With the City losing significant revenues as a result of COVID-19, Council was not in a position to provide additional funding to community groups, including a substantial new grant to the EcoSociety.
Today, the EcoSociety released a media statement suggesting the City made a unilateral decision to take over the operation of the markets. It is unfortunate the EcoSociety has characterized the City as having made this decision unilaterally, instead of acknowledging that Council stepped up to support the markets because of the inability of the EcoSociety to run the markets without substantial new funding.
The City has had ongoing discussions with the EcoSociety’s Executive Director to find a workable solution, and it was only when this process failed that Council looked for an alternative solution. As the EcoSociety confirmed again today with City staff, they were not able to run the markets this year without substantial new grants from City Council, Regional Directors, CBT and additional donations from the community. The EcoSociety also indicated for the first time today that they would have only been able to run the markets until they ran out money, which also would not have been a good outcome for the vendors or the community.
Council was able to utilize Youth Centre staff and youth employees to step into the gap and run the markets this year, to ensure there is stability for the vendors and the community. The staffing cost difference for the Youth Centre to run the markets was $30,000 alone, plus overhead cost savings in excess of $5,000.
It is also unfortunate the EcoSociety has expended the full $15,000 grant they received from the CBT to run the markets prior to even the first market being open and therefore had to lay off their Market Manager. City Council, via the Youth Centre, will make every effort to continue offering a successful farmers’ market to the community, as the EcoSociety has done for many years. The Youth Centre Manager intends to work closely with the EcoSociety and others to ensure there is a seamless transition in the operation of this season’s farmer’s market.
The Nelson markets were scheduled to start on June 6, 2020, however, due to uncertain weather patterns and dangerous water flows from Cottonwood Creek, market operations will start on Saturday, June 13th.
Potential vendors can contact Jordan Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org to apply for the upcoming market season.
COVID-19 Safety Protocols
To ensure the markets will run efficiently and safely, the City has established a COVID-19 Safety Plan for all staff, vendors, and patrons. Safety protocols will be in place on June 13th at the first market.
Mayor Dooley – email@example.com
Kevin Cormack, City Manager – firstname.lastname@example.org