February 3, 2012 The Spec by Matthew Van Dongen
The city will study the possibility of farming out the Hamilton Farmers’ Market to the private sector.
Councillors directed staff Thursday to prepare a feasibility study on the partial or total privatization of the 175-year-old downtown market, abruptly putting plans to announce a new manager for the controversy-plagued marketplace on hold.
Councillor Chad Collins, who made the motion for the study, said he believes a private partnership could help slay the facility’s $200,000-plus annual taxpayer subsidy.
Collins added new management might also help pump up traffic to the city-owned building, which was renovated at a cost of almost $16 million last year. “I think we all expected to see more people inside that building (after the renovation),” he said.
Community services general manager Joe-Anne Priel said the study could come together within four months, but added staff will continue with an already-planned governance review of options other than privatization. The city will hold off installing a new manager until after the study, she said, even though a successful candidate had been chosen and expected to start next Tuesday.
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