News

Sidney summer market proposals due soon

Just days remain before the request for proposals for the Sidney summer market closes.

Proposals are due to the town by 3 p.m. Monday, May 7. With the market’s original organizer, the Sidney Business Association, ousted by the town from managing the event, the popular market’s future remains unclear.

“The issue around the market had to do with the process of mediation and the reaction and conduct of the SBA through that process,” Mayor Larry Cross told the News Review on Wednesday.

Dozens of comments have appeared on the paper’s website in response to the latest developments surrounding the market.

The town echoed some of those concerns. Randy Humble, Sidney’s chief administrative officer, confirmed the town has never received an audited financial statement from the SBA, for example.

“We did everything by the rules,” SBA president Edward Connor said.

Sidney’s mayor and council terminated the SBA’s contract to run the market on April 23, citing a breach of trust. The SBA countered with a letter from their lawyer to the town.

“It’s a culmination of things,” Humble said. “I think the town has lost a high level of trust in the SBA to run the market.”

That includes an “inappropriate” presentation to Sidney council April 10 with an “ultimatum” on the market’s layout, Humble said.

The SBA’s lawyer, L. John Alexander, recommended the association proceed with running the 2012 market in the same capacity as in 2011, in a letter to the town dated April 29.

Connor said he believes the SBA is being pushed into the shadows, partly with the changes to the market and as others have renewed plans to form a business improvement association.

According to the RFP, council will see proposals on May 14 and could sign an agreement with the selected group on May 25. The summer market is scheduled to begin June 7.

 

Timeline

• June 2011: Merchants deliver a petition to the town, asking to have market vendors configured down the centre of Beacon Avenue.

• Early March 2012: Susan Simosko releases a report with recommendations that could improve the market for some Beacon Avenue merchants.

• March 23: At a meeting at the SBA office, an ad hoc group 15 people agreed unanimously, “for the time being,” to move ahead with the report’s recommendations.

• April 10: SBA presents Sidney council with a motion to run the market the same way as in 2011, while implementing “as many recommendations from the Simosko report as is reasonably possible. If the town is unable the accept the [SBA] board’s decision, the market will move to another location.”

• April 23: Town of Sidney informs SBA that the licence agreement to operate the market has been terminated.

• April 29: SBA responds to the town with a letter outlining costs with removing the association from market management and recommending the town reconsider its decision.

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