One thing one long-time followers of Hamilton City Council have learned is that you never know what it will take to trigger a protected debate. Millions of dollars can be spent with a simple voice-vote (at least it could before COVID) and then you get something like Wednesday’s council meeting. It started off innocently enough as the council meeting was nearing its end. Council had approved a couple of housekeeping motions to allow some of the rural grocery stores who double as LCBO agencies to remain open during the summer holiday Mondays. Then Flamborough councillor Judi Partridge proposed a motion to waive about $4500 in fees to allow a farmer’s market to operate in the parking lot of a Waterdown Park for the summer. The Market had been displaced from a Legion parking lot it normally used due to COVID.
First came comment from Ward Seven Councillor Esther Pauls who, for whatever reason, has agreed to sit on what is easily the most dysfunctional of all the city’s advisory Committees and boards—that of the Hamilton Farmers Market. It turns out the Market vendors had asked for rent relief but were turned down.
Then came Councillor Nann wondering about equitable treatment for the operators of the Ottawa Street Farmer’s Market.
Well, it turns out Dundas has a similar situation.
And in Ward One it’s a slightly different situation…
After an hour of this, during which senior staff scrambled to find some language for a resolution that would address all of the farmers market issues, Ward Six councillor Tom Jackson stated the obvious.
In the end Partridge, who almost was penalized for being first with an idea that apparently nobody else had though of, got her rent forgiveness motion passed and now staff have the task of crafting a policy to deal with all the others.