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Sidney council reverses on market deal

May 16 2012

The spat between the Town of Sidney and the association that runs the popular Thursday night street market seems to be over.

Mayor Larry Cross announced Tuesday that town council had reversed its earlier decision to revoke a licence agreement with the Sidney Business Association, which runs the popular Sidney Summer Street Market.

The market runs June through August and draws thousands of people to Beacon Avenue.

Cross said in a statement that council, acting on legal advice, voted at an in-camera meeting Monday to rescind an earlier resolution that called for terminating the association's licence to run the summer street market for 2012.

The business association has run the market since it started 13 years ago. In April, council sent an email to the association board saying the town had lost confidence in the association's "functional and organizational capacity" to run the market.

Some Beacon Avenue business owners have complained that those who shop at the market don't stray from the street and visit the shops in the area. They also say that people buy food at stalls and then sit on shop doorsteps to eat it.

Council hopes that the association's annual general meeting, set for Friday, will see the election of new board sharing similar views as council when it comes to running the street market.

The stalemate between the two parties ended with Monday's vote by council to allow the association time to reconsider its leadership.

"We had an agreement between all parties involved as to what the market would look like with some changes," Cross said.

"It is necessary [that] the town has confidence in the governance processes and financial status of any organization with which it has an important relationship," he said, adding that council hopes the outcome of elections at the annual general meeting "will provide the basis for a renewed confidence."

Association president Edward Connor said he was relieved the dispute is over.

"We just need to move forward now," he said. "It was a hard road to go down. I congratulate Mayor Cross and his council for coming up with this right decision."

The first market on the year is set to begin June 7 at 4: 30 p.m.

smcculloch@timescolonist.com

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