Progress to understanding and co-operation is emerging after a recent mediated session between the New Glasgow Farmers Market and downtown business owners to help resolve some of the conflict brought about by the Market to Main Street Event proposal and denial.
Last week, the town hosted a session at Glasgow Square for representatives of each side in the issue to co-operate and plan for a better, more integrated future among all businesses and organizations. Recently, there had been a conflict between the market and some of the business owners after a proposal was put forth to approve the closure of a portion of Provost Street for a Market to Main Street event. Coun. Frank Proudfoot suggested that letters should be sent to downtown businesses asking how they feel about the street closure. After negative results came back from a handful of businesses, Proudfoot put forth a motion — which was not unanimously passed by council — to not allow the market event to take place.
Last week’s mediation session resulted in lengthy and in-depth discussions about the downtown and other matters that concern the business owners and the market.
“I thought it was great,” said Kristi Russell, manager of the New Glasgow Farmers Market. “I think it opened the line for communication a bit.”
Russell added that it was great to get to know some of the business owners more and have open conversations about different things.
“We hope it strengthens (us) and moves forward and brings great things to our downtown as a whole,” Russell said. The meeting was well attended by many and it was noted that respect was shared among all parties during the facilitated event.
“It was a worthwhile evening,” said Mayor Nancy Dicks about the session. It was noted by several who attended that Dicks showed true leadership for her community at the meeting by expressing the importance of all parties to her and the town and the goal for everyone to come together. The mayor even hosted a conversation after the main session which had run until 10 p.m., for those who felt they had more to say.
The process for communication between all parties will continue with a view to having everyone continue to work together in the future with more discussions and action plans.
The town is also putting in work to help smooth things over, added CAO Lisa MacDonald. She clarified that the town will be working on a better communication system between everyone to help aid in the process.
“I think it was more of an exercise to agree that we’re all better off working together,” said Jim Fitt of the business advisory committee. “As a downtown core we do agree that we need to work together and we needed to come together to discuss ways of moving forward.”
Regular annual events such as Johnny Miles running events, Art at Night, the annual car show, Riverfront Jubilee and more that shut down Provost Street each year have nothing to fear, however, as they will still be able to continue with their festivities.