Think you could oversee the ByWard and Parkdale markets? Apply now

1 / 3
Think you could oversee the ByWard and Parkdale markets? Apply now

Do you have big ideas for the ByWard and Parkdale markets? Are you entrepreneurial, with a strong network and time to offer for free?

If so, this job may be for you.

The City of Ottawa wants nine people to form the brand new volunteer board that's intended to revitalize its markets.

Just one day after city council approved the new structure, the city put the call out for board members.

Even though the city spent some five years on studies and reports, it's giving these prospective board members only until May 1 to apply.

But Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury, who represents the ByWard Market area, says the city doesn't already have individuals tapped.

"The board will have an important responsibility early on to establish a strategic plan, a financial plan, but also to hire a rock star executive director," said Fleury.

The city hopes that new board will be functioning by June so it can hire this star by July, said Fleury.

That's because the city takes back the keys to the ByWard Market building on Dec. 31, when a 20-year public-private partnership comes to an end. Fleury said the city wants the market ready for that transition.

"I know there's a strong interest in the future of the market, in turning it around, and seeing it pick up," he said.

Pop-up stalls and patios

When approached on the streets of ByWard Market and asked what she would change, Ottawa resident Gwen Neelin suggested the new managers should focus on local businesses and vendors who could attract more residents to the historic core.

Neelin said she personally thinks of the entire ByWard Market area as a place for bars and touristy restaurants, so she finds "funky" Wellington West and Hintonburg shops and restaurants more her style.

The new managers could set up a system of pop-up markets with local artisans, Neelin suggested.

She also said the ByWard Market should close streets around the market building so they can be used by pedestrians, cafés and festivals. 

"I think it could be really amazing. I've done a fair amount of travelling around England and Europe and a lot of them have pedestrian city centres that are just shops and cafés," she said.

Creative people who run workshops and maker spaces in the city might have something to contribute to the new board, she added.

Fleury is certain the city will receive many applications for the board.

"I hear all the time from residents that love and are passionate about the ByWard Market," he said. "Everyone has different ideas. We're looking for people who want to contribute their time."