Council Briefs: Farmers’ market fees to go up

The Invermere Farmers’ Market this year will have to pay a higher fee to the district.

The Invermere Farmers’ Market this year will have to pay a higher fee to the district.

Invermere councillors decided to bump up the fee it charges the market to operate, from $700 to $1,000, during its most recent council meeting on Tuesday, March 10th.

The fee increase is intended, to help recoup (at least in small measure) some of the $40,000 spent repaving the road on which the market sets up from late May through to September.

“We also need to be fair to existing businesses, some of which are in direct competition with some of the market vendors. These business owners pay tax and pay for a business licence, while the vendors don’t,” said Councillor Al Miller.

Council members discussed the idea of charging a $25 business licence fee for each vendor (the normal business licence fee is $100), but decided it would be too bureaucratically complicated and unfair since some vendors at the market operate as businesses, while other booths are simply for educational purposes or for fundraising efforts by non-profit or student groups.

In the end, councillors decided to simply raise the fee for the market as a whole and let the organizers decide how to disperse the cost.

Also during the March 10th meeting, Invermere council approved a request from the Royal Canadian Legion Windermere District Branch to book the Invermere sign by the Athalmer Bridge for November 5th to November 11th on an ongoing basis each year, to help the Legion advertise Veterans’ Week.

Invermere chief administrative officer Chris Prosser told council that in the past the district has traditionally allowed the Legion use the sign each year for this purpose, but on an informal basis. He cautioned councillors that use of that sign is highly coveted and they might want to consider just leaving the Legion’s use of it as standard practice rather than making it formal, since a formal agreement might set a precedent for many other groups wishing to use the sign.

Council members were unsure such caution was necessary.

“It’s not apples to apples. I can’t believe other groups would be bold enough to say, ‘You let the Legion use it, you should let us use it’,” said councillor Justin Atterbury.

The other councillors present (councillor Greg Anderson was absent) all voiced similar opinions and the a motion to agree to the Legion’s request passed unanimously.