The Revelstoke Winter Market organizing committee operates the biweekly markets in the Revelstoke Community Centre through the winter. Representative Hermann Bruns is appealing for a concession in fees, arguing that a near doubling of fees last year makes the market unsustainable as smaller vendors are unable to justify the costs. Here’s a letter to council by Bruns, which will be discussed at their Sept. 11, 3 p.m. regular meeting.
Revelstoke City Council
August 24, 2012
Dear Council Members,
Re: Community Centre hallway rental fee for the Winter Farmers’ Market
The Revelstoke Winter Market was created in the fall of 2008 in response to a growing interest in having the Farmers’ Market continue beyond the summer. Since then it has become a well attended event held every second Thursday afternoon from November to April in the Community Centre hallway.
The Community Centre hallway was chosen as the indoor winter market venue because it had a high degree of availability and had successfully been used for Christmas Markets for many years previous. This past winter, however, staff at the Community Centre decided to change the pricing code categorization of the Winter Market from “Code 4 – Non-profit/Charity” to “Code 2 – Corporate/Business”.
Categorizing the Winter Market as a “Code 2” event has almost doubled the cost of using the hallway (from $1440 to $2769 for the 12 markets we hold) which makes the venue unaffordable. If we raise our table fees in an attempt to cover the increased venue charge, we will lose many vendors whose market sales do not justify the cost. Even as it is, attracting sufficient vendors for the Winter Market is a challenge.
In considering the definitions of the 4 pricing codes, we appreciate the difficulty of selecting the one most appropriate for the Winter Farmers’ Market. No single category truly describes our event. While vendors do attend the market with items for sale and can be considered individual businesses, the Winter Market itself is a break-even project operated by a non-profit society, the Revelstoke Farm & Craft Market.
The Farmers’ Market is as much a community event as it is a commercial one. The market becomes a social hub for the community and people from Revelstoke and beyond have an opportunity to develop their interests and hobbies into small businesses. Children’s books, home-made soap, beef jerky, wooden bowls are just a few of the examples of items Revelstoke citizens have brought to the market. With some exceptions, farmers markets require vendors to have made, baked, or grown the items they sell. Revelstoke community organizations also frequently set up information tables at the market.
On behalf of the Revelstoke Winter Market organizing committee, I would like to ask you to consider creating a special Winter Market rental fee arrangement (to be negotiated with staff to fall somewhere between the old and the new rental rate) for the Community Centre hallway. Here are a few justifications for such an arrangement:
1. As described earlier, a Farmers’ Market embodies many community values.
2. The Community Center hallway is currently not listed as a rental space on the fee schedule. I would suggest that it would be justifiable to charge a rental fee that is different from that of the multi-purpose (MP) rooms in that the hallway is a very open public place which happens to work well for a community event like the Winter Market but would probably not be ideal for most code 2 events (“Corporate/Business use for meetings, workshops, banquets or major fundraising events”). It might also be useful to compare how often the hallway is rented out for Code 2 events in comparison to the MP rooms.
The hallway also continues to serve as access to the MP and meeting rooms at the same time as it is being used for the market. So while it seems to be a relatively large space, there are numerous doorways leading into the other rooms that must be kept free for easy access which affects how much space is available to the market.
3. The Winter Market would commit to booking a space that may otherwise not get a lot of use for 12 rental dates (11 Thursday afternoons and one Saturday for the Christmas market) between Nov. 1 and April 30.
4. Losing the Winter Market would mean an annual revenue loss for the Community Center.
Thank you for your consideration of our proposal to find a way to continue holding the Winter Market in its current venue. Feel free to call or email me for further information. I would also be happy to appear before council to answer any questions you may have.