Town councillor Morgan Nagel wants to resolve an issue that has lingered since 2022 over the use of a building owned by Big Sky Landscaping at 365 Railway St. W.

On Sept. 11, Councillor Nagel was successful in getting unanimous support for his notice of motion to get more information on the situation that arose when the building owner wanted to operate both its landscaping company and The Local Yokel Market at the same location.

"I'm hoping Council will also unanimously support actually helping the business owner to get some sort of resolution to come forward so that the operator there can continue running both businesses."

He says he's heard different versions of why Blue Sky Landscaping, owned by Todd Simmer, couldn't utilize the building for the market.

Out of frustration, Simmer announced in February he was closing The Local Yokel Market and was putting the building up for sale.

An issue arose from a zoning bylaw change that occurred in 2022, which saw the property designated Business Industrial. Simmer wanted to operate the market and his landscaping business out of the same building, but the town says it wasn't permissible within the Business Industrial zoning. A garden centre was permissible, but not a farmers’ market.

"There's a lot of misunderstanding on both sides of what the town wants and what the business owner needs to operate. Really, I'm just hoping that we can come up with some sort of compromise that allows this business owner to operate the business that they want to operate and have historically been operating."

Blue Sky Landscaping was established in 2004.

Nagel says he first became aware of the issue last winter, then heard more in the spring. It also became a pointed discussion at town council's large town hall meeting in April. After that, Nagel had anticipated a resolution would be reached, but it hasn't. He began diving into the issue this summer and made the motion in the first meeting after the summer break. 

"I'm disappointed with how long this has taken," admits Nagel. "We have so many different files of the Town of Cochrane that they all just feel like paperwork and issues. But in the real world, this is directly impacting somebody's livelihood in business, and I wish it would have been taken care of in the spring when it first came up."

Drew Hyndman, town executive director of development and infrastructure services, met with Nagel before the Sept. 11 council meeting.

"We could bring some of this information in terms of the history of this particular property and some options, as outlined in the notice of motion, for council's consideration," he told council on Monday night. 

Hyndman believes the report could be ready for town council's Sept. 25 meeting.

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