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Twilight Market must follow bylaws

Organizer of artisan market plans to bring weekly event back next summer

If the organizer behind the Twilight Market wants to continue holding her weekly event, she will have to get official approval from municipal hall.

That was the message four of the five councillors sent to Tess Klein at last week's council meeting when she tried to dispute the municipality's rationale for shutting down her weekly artisan market.

"The process would be the same with what was gone through to get the Blackcomb Upper Village market going back in 1992 and 1993," said Acting Mayor Chris Quinlan.

"It was a very lengthy process and there was a consultation with all the businesses... That would be the process you would go through. If you wish to proceed with that, then I am sure our staff would be willing to help you."

Klein came to the meeting two weeks after her artisan market, held on the Westin Hotel's private plaza, was shut down by the municipality's bylaw department.

The market started on July 3 and ran every Friday evening for five weeks.

However bylaw officer Sandra Smith informed Klein that because the Twilight Market is held in public view, it contravenes the local bylaw and needs to get special approval from council.

Klein is arguing that the bylaw does not specifically state goods can't be sold on private property, and to support her dispute, she came to the council meeting armed with a petition signed by 100 shop owners, managers and employees from businesses surrounding the Westin.

"I just don't understand why the market went on for so long and no one approached me, because this is really the private property of the Westin," Klein told the councillors. "The Westin wants it there and the retail stores want it there."

After hearing her concerns, one councillor tried to work out a compromise.

"As I understand it, this market is really a summer effort and probably has a few weeks left to run," said Councillor Ted Milner.

"I don't see why we don't want them to run for a few weeks and then we can deal with it next spring. I move that we allow the market to continue until the end of September and then staff can review it in due process next year."

The other councillors present knocked down his motion, saying they weren't prepared to amend municipal bylaws on the fly.

"I am not into taking the correspondence section of a council meeting to amend bylaws," said Councillor Eckhard Zeidler. "What you are proposing cannot happen without the bylaw being amended."

This week, Klein said it is sad to see the town is not more supportive, although she appreciated Milner's efforts.

"We have so much stuff in town that is commercial and that everyone else has, and we put out something that is unique and from the artists that are here," she said.

Klein added, however, that she is not giving up, and she plans to get the appropriate approval so she can bring the Twilight Market back next summer.

"It is on for next summer," she said.