Bah humbug, there’s not going to be a Trail indoor market this year.
After two successful seasons of moving the Trail Outdoor Market on the Esplanade inside the city’s centre every other Friday until Christmas, the event was officially shelved on Tuesday.
City staff asked Trail council to forgo the winter markets this year after an integral player, the Trail and District Chamber of Commerce (TCOC), took itself off the list of supporters this season.
The chamber’s role in the market planning is key, because TCOC staff coordinates vendor bookings, fields related calls, processes payments and attends every Friday event.
Taking the market inside the Trail Memorial Centre does not support downtown business, says Norm Casler, TCOC’s executive director, so the chamber wants to focus on helping its members build their businesses, especially over the holiday season.
That decision was very disappointing for Coun. Eleanor Gattafoni Robinson, and she questioned TCOC‘s stance during the Tuesday governance and operations committee meeting.
“Needless to say I am totally opposed to what’s transpiring here,” said the councillor and spearhead of the outdoor and indoor markets.
“You don’t have to be a British scholar to figure out that you’re getting 500 people to the downtown core attending the market. And they were dispersing and going through other parts of the downtown core.”
She maintains the markets are a community gathering place, not just a place to shop, and a popular draw for out-of-towners as well as locals.
“This was a huge success for both market-goers and downtown merchants,” Gattafoni Robinson added. “I’m very upset that it’s come to this point, because I don’t think it should have.”
By a narrow margin, 4-3, (voting to keep the market were councillors Gattafoni Robinson, Kevin Jolly and Robert Cacchioni; against were Mayor Dieter Bogs, and councillors Rick Georgetti, Gord DeRosa and Sean Mackinlay) council agreed to end the winter markets and hand the matter to Andrea Jolly, Trail’s communications and events coordinator, to review for 2015.
In conjunction with the Downtown Opportunities and Action Committee, Jolly will be surveying downtown merchants and shoppers to determine the feasibility of a future winter market that would be marketed and advertised as its own event.
“Why are we doing that again?” questioned Gattafoni Robinson. “I don’t think we have to re-invent the wheel. The market is already a success so what’s the reason for another survey.”
Determining how the market impacts downtown is a challenge for the city, said David Perehudoff, Trail’s chief administrative officer. “They (TCOC) don’t believe the indoor market is promoting downtown business and is a conflict from their perspective.”
With the indoor market off the plate, TCOC staff is turning its attention to hosting the all candidates forums, and assisting with the city’s Spooktacular event and Silver City Nites on Dec. 6,.
Additionally, the chamber has expressed interest in promoting existing winters markets that include the Mistletoe Market at the Riverbelle, the Waneta Plaza Christmas Craft Fair and the United Church Craft Fair.