Pitt Meadows farmers’ market asks city for some help

Mayor Don MacLean says city should not subsidize businesses that make a profit

Children play on a giant chessboard at the Pitt Meadows farmers' market in Spirit Square this summer.

The Haney Farmer’s Market will have to wait until next month to find out whether Pitt Meadows will help it cover some of the costs of hosting the 13-week event in the city.

On Tuesday, city council deferred the society’s fee-for-service application to its business planning sessions, which begin Nov. 29.

In March, the city reluctantly entered into a $6,890 “one time” fee-for-service agreement with the society, which hosts the market during summer in Spirit Square, and asked organizers to look elsewhere for funding for 2012.

To host the market next year, organizers need $10,000 in funding.

The Haney Farmers’ Market Society is confident it can cover most of the funding through grants, but is now asking Pitt Meadows to cover the remainder, which amounts to $6,890.

Although the non-profit society has started a conversation with a financial institute regarding long-term funding, the discussion is still in its early stage and funding won’t be in place for the 2012 season, which begins next June and runs till October.

The city’s outgoing mayor, Don MacLean, did not support sending the market’s fee for service application to business planning.

“I know this is a non-profit society, but we also have businesses that are coming into our community and making a profit and we are subsidizing their profit,” he said.

“If something is really worth having, people will support it,” MacLean added, suggesting patrons could be asked to pay an entry fee.

Other councillors, though, supported sending the society’s request to business planning because the event drew up to 500 people into the city centre every weekend during summer.

“I think it warrants a discussion. It was well-received in our community and I think council does need to look at it,” said Coun. Deb Walters.

 

Get involved

The City of Pitt Meadows hopes residents get involved in how the municipality will spend its tax dollars next year.

Presentations by each city department begin Nov. 29, while business plans detailing spending and expenses are available at the city library and on the city website.

“This is your opportunity,” Mayor Don MacLean said at Tuesday’s council meeting as he urged residents to get involved in the process.

“Don’t phone the mayor and council next July when you get your tax bills. Take half an hour, an hour of your time, and let council know what you think is important and make sure you have input.”

Sessions

Business planning presentations begin Nov. 29 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and resume Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be an opportunity for formal public input at a council in committee meeting on Dec. 13. For more, visit pittmeadows.bc.ca.

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