Conflict with Kensington BRZ may force cancellations
Oversights and competition for parking spaces have stirred tensions between Kensington’s Market Collective, the Kensington Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ) and the Calgary Parking Authority (CPA).
Market Collective was planning to operate over three weekends in December. Market co-founder Angel Guerra says that to her surprise the market was told on November 5 it must cancel two of those three weekends.
BRZ executive director Annie MacInnis says the surprise is all hers, because the Market Collective has a long-standing agreement with the BRZ and CPA to do business on only one weekend per month in the old Ant Hill Fabrics building on 10th Street N.W. MacInnis points out weekends in December are the neighbourhood’s busiest shopping days.
“We said we are happy to have you come the last weekend in November and a weekend of your choice in December and a weekend in January, and they refused and have done what they’ve done,” says MacInnis.
What Market Collective has done is contact the artists who sell their wares from the collective, and anyone who could be considered a supporter, requesting they petition the mayor, Ald. Druh Farrell, the CPA and the BRZ to allow them to have their three weekends. Guerra says the public reaction has been “phenomenal.”
“The response was so overwhelming we didn’t even have time to [issue a press release]. We’ve been cc’d on 160 emails now to the City of Calgary,” she says.
CPA spokesperson Shelley Trigg says the market did apply in September for more December dates, but was told in October they could only have one.
Guerra argues they had tacit approval for December, but that the BRZ believes the market puts too much pressure on local parking as it brings in 3,000 to 5,000 people over the weekends it operates, and that’s why Market Collective isn’t welcome.
The three parties have been working to reach a compromise, and met again November 14. Trigg suggested the market remain open for the entire week of December 1 to 7 — an offer Guerra says is insulting.
“We put months into preparing something for this and we’re working with 200 different people’s schedules, and it seemed like they were treating Market Collective like a popsicle stand,” says Guerra.
Either way, the market must move out of the Ant Hill building altogether in January, as it is scheduled for demolition. Guerra says they were hoping for a big send-off, and are not backing down from this dispute.
Market Collective was established in 2008 by Guerra and Angela Dione as a space to showcase and sell handicrafts, visual arts and music from local artists.