Following intense public criticism over Hamilton city council’s vote against offering rent supports to Hamilton Farmers’ Market vendors amid COVID-19, council is now considering giving the market $30,000 in support as they continue to reckon with intense dips in business.
This one-time funding support would help the Hamilton Farmers’ Market stay afloat following a 2020 that saw a drastic drop in patronage, with 2019 overall seeing triple the weekly foot traffic compared to 2020.
Following public backlash, City Council holding a Special meeting next Monday to reconsider its decision to threaten eviction after revoking COVID rent relief at the Hamilton Farmers Market. Well done Hamilton, again forcing Council to do the right thing
— Joey Coleman (@JoeyColeman) January 21, 2021
The market itself saw a loss of at least $46,600 in the last year, from a combination of unoccupied vendor space, a delayed timeline for the launch of some of the market’s newest vendors, and some abandoned vendor contracts.
There may be even further loss to come, as the pandemic continues to affect business all over Hamilton and the market is seeing some of its current vendors not signing new contracts to stay on for 2021.
Earlier this week, the Hamilton Farmers’ Market saw the longest standing member of its Board of Directors, Eric Miller, resign in protest of city council’s unwillingness to provide rent supports to the market and its vendors, insisting that vendors still pay their 2020 rent in full or risk being evicted.
In his resignation letter, Miller wrote “The crisis was twice avoidable. The first opportunity was for Council to provide a substitute of the Federal CECRA program so that the Market Corporation could replicate 6 months of rent reductions that commercial landlords provided under CECRA to small businesses who experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19.”
“A second fall-back opportunity was for the Market Corporation to use the Farmers’ Market Reserve Account to accommodate just 3 months of rent reductions during the worst part of the lockdown and restricted market access that resulted in a 75% drop in customer counts.”
City council will discuss the matter further in an emergency meeting this coming Monday.
Lead image courtesy of @ovocrank