Downtown farmers’ market on the ropes
Shane Coleman, president and spokesperson for the stallholders’ association, says vendor sales are down as much as 50 per cent.
He says the award-winning reno project hurt business by taking away the market’s free validated parking on York Boulevard, its $200,000-plus overhanging street sign, and by altering the free-flowing atmosphere.
On top of that, Coleman says sales are falling because of the spring opening of the Nations Fresh Food supermarket in the adjoining Jackson Square, the city’s failure to properly promote the 175-year-old market, and a paternal governance system that doesn’t give vendors a voice in their own future.
“A lot of the problems we’re having now wouldn’t have happened if stallholders actually had some voting power input on what’s happening on day-to-day operations,” says Coleman.
They may soon get their wish. The city is in the midst of a comprehensive review of market operations and governance.
John Hertel, director of enterprise management and revenue generation, hopes to put his report before councillors in mid to late October.
Hertel says it will include researched trends, stakeholder focus group results, and a recommendation to send out a wide-open request for proposals seeking all manner of alternative operating and governance models, including privatization. (Continued: by Andrew Dreschel Hamilton Spectator)