Comox council will look at what options are available for a pair of residents who proposed a weekly summer market set in the town for summer 2023.
In December, Cleo Tetrault and Holly Brotherston, both representing Love Local Food Co., appeared as a delegation at a council meeting with their idea for a weekly Thursday evening market in Comox beginning June 2023.
The duo suggested the idea of a hybrid-style market with artisans, small business owners and growers every week in Marina Park from 4 to 7 p.m. until September.
“We’re trying to create more vibrancy and culture in downtown Comox,” explained Tetrault.
They asked council to partner with them for a financial and/or in-kind infrastructure donation.
The in-kind ask includes insurance, licencing and permits; assistance with management for foot traffic, parking and power service; washroom access, garbage and communication. They also asked for $10,000 to help the start-up of the market.
At the Jan. 11 council meeting, Jordan Wall, the town’s chief administrative officer told council they are prohibited by the Community Charter from providing assistance to a for-profit business “to support the profit motive of a private business.”
He added council could direct staff to provide a report with options, they could refuse the request or examine other possible locations within the town.
Coun. Chris Haslett supported the market idea but didn’t feel Marina Park would be a good location, while Coun. Ken Grant said he liked the concept but was unsure of infrastructure costs. He proposed the idea of getting a staff report to see what a market at the marina would entail.
Mayor Nicole Minions asked what would be required of a staff report, and Wall explained they would have to look at per-hour costs for town staff, and location feasibility at the marina including parking and set-up/take-down.
“In my experience, businesses quickly realize … garbage clean-up and road clean-up start to become really expensive.”
Noting it would be helpful to have a report to look at options, Coun. Jonathan Kerr added he would like to see a market happen this summer.
A motion for a staff report passed unanimously.