We, the Sidney Business Association board, are surprised and disappointed in the way in which this duly elected mayor and council, and the town’s CAO have dealt with this local not-for-profit organization. The mandate of the Sidney Business Association is to promote and showcase our town of Sidney at absolutely no cost to the taxpayer.
They instead notified the SBA and then issued a media release outlining their six months’ notice to terminate our contract for the use of Beacon Avenue for the Thursday night market. This media release called into question the ability, intelligence and the integrity of the Sidney Business Association to operate the Sidney market successfully.
We find this ludicrous given that we have operated successfully one of the largest outdoor night markets in Western Canada, and have had it voted the No. 1 outdoor event on the Peninsula for the last seven years running.
We feel that this is a tremendous achievement and should be applauded.
Last year, the Sidney Business Association paid the Town of Sidney a whopping $16,606 for the privilege of using Beacon Avenue to showcase downtown Sidney to about 5,000 visitors weekly. The nationwide organization, Farmers’ Markets Canada, was shocked to hear what we paid to the town, as the next highest market in Canada pays approximately $4,000 and, in B.C., the top fee is $3,000.
That association then carried on to explain that many communities don’t charge, as they see these events as a promotion of their community.
Previous councils evidently felt the Thursday market was promoting the Town of Sidney and often did not charge for it while absorbing the costs of the manpower and equipment rental of $3,200 until 2008. The Sidney Business Association does not want the town to have to absorb those costs, but feels charging an additional $13,000 is an exorbitant amount.
Although not within their purview, the mayor and council registered concerns about the finances of the Sidney Business Association.
The Sidney Business Association is and always has been an open and transparent organization. In order to alleviate any present and future concerns in this regard, the board of directors has committed to have the financial statements posted on our website within 30 days.
We want to assure everyone that as the owners of the market, the Sidney Business Association will continue to successfully operate this award winning market as we have done for the past 12 years and will be working to make the market experience even more enjoyable and memorable.
We also would like to thank all of the vendors who have participated in our annual market and hope that they will continue to be active participants in our partnership.