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Crafter disappointed with city

Dear Editor: I read your story, Time to liven up the streets? (The Record, July 29) with a lot of interest. I wish to share a bit more information with you to make your story a bit more human.

Dear Editor:

I read your story, Time to liven up the streets? (The Record, July 29) with a lot of interest. I wish to share a bit more information with you to make your story a bit more human.

The City of New Westminster (city hall) is difficult to understand sometimes. In fact I have advised them that they are downright confusing me.

The city licensing department just approved the new bicycle renting store licence, which uses the esplanade to operate its business as a main thoroughfare - and has refused to license me in 2012 (a jewelry home crafter) based on a ruling and reported by Lisa Spitale (director of development services) in her June 2011 report to council which says: "The Esplanade is a designated greenway, with one of the principles stating that a minimum of a 30-foot clearance should be provided from the edge of any building to the edge of the dock for the purposes of pedestrian walkway."

I meet the designated clearances, am stationary and take up about 15 square feet (one six-foot table by 30 inches wide). The bicycle company, which rents bicycles, is permitted to use the entire esplanade as its roadway.

I suspect the real difference is the main office of the bicycle company is located in River Market, which is also interesting.

I participate and pay $20 per day to attend the one day per month Royally Crafty events for home crafters inside River Market and am happy to be there.

However, I have just sent an email to them to see if I could be inside the River Market on every Saturday for September, October, November, and December of 2011. The email I got back said yes I could, provided I pay 2.5 times more for rent.

Please keep in mind that my wife and I make jewelry on rainy days and while she is at work, I display them on the esplanade.

I have been there two years and do not compete with any other jewelry retailers. However, I can afford the price of a city licence and display my wares on sunny days.

It seems the city planners, the River Market and the licensing department are in effect telling me to cease and desist in our hobby activities, which are also a modest money maker.

I sell enough jewelry on the boardwalk to be able to replace the beads that are sold and maybe a bit left over for a cup of coffee at McDonald's on a rainy day. You see, I am also a disabled person and cannot work in a conventional setting.

So the city council has a good remedy for people like me by having its street activity program, and from my perspective River Market, the city licensing and planning is doing its best to sabotage the intent.

I guess the city hall must bend to the wishes of big buck developers and landlords like the River Market.

God forbid that I be considered competition to a retail store inside River Market; but understanding this is not of value either because the River Market has about eight tenants and is only about 30 per cent occupied.

As of this writing, the River Market does not have a jewelry retail tenant - the only other tenants who sell jewelry are other home-crafters like myself who get together monthly at the market for the Royally Crafty event.

Visitors from all over the city will come out to River Market if there are interesting things to see, and I firmly believe that the boardwalk in all its beauty could be home to many home-crafters if given a fair chance.

Home-crafted table displays are great visitor magnets.

I support city council vision and am disappointed by the short-sightedness of the licensing department, River Market and city planners.

John Hoover, New Westminster