Hamilton’s film explosion ‘beyond manageable’
The director of Tourism Hamilton says film production in Hamilton has been exploding and the city needs to do a complete review of how the industry is being managed.
Susan Monarch says the combination of a low Canadian dollar and provincial tax incentives to schedule film shoots outside of the Greater Toronto Area has led to a deluge of movie shoots in Hamilton. That has caused all kinds obstructed streets and aggravation to people and businesses.
“In September, there were 18 productions on downtown streets. That is beyond manageable. We need to look at this,” said Monarch.
In 2014, the number of productions filmed in the city shot up to 100 from 75 the year before. So far this year, there have been 84, showing the city is in line to likely surpass last year’s totals.
“It has become a major industry. We need to sit back and look at what are we doing as a community,” Monarch said.
On the table are big hikes in film permit fees, currently only $29, but also increases in parking charges and rental fees for city-owned facilities.
Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Green, the chair of the BIA advisory committee, says: “We have now attracted this incredible industry to the city but the fees don’t reflect the impact it has in the community.”
He believes the city needs to create a graduated scale of fees based on the size of the production. Increasing the revenue stream for the city would go some distance in recouping administrative costs of the city’s film office, which looks after applications from production companies.
As well, Monarch said the film application process needs to be updated with greater oversight to make sure film companies live up to their obligations.
City staff will look into the issue and produce a report for councillors. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)
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