Stallholders calling for new leadership of the recently renovated Hamilton Farmers’ Market are fighting for survival.
Or, they’re griping about a sweet deal other city business owners would kill to have.
It depends on who you ask.
“What we have now isn’t working. We need to run this place like a business … People are giving up,” said Shane Coleman, president of the stallholders association that has asked council to cede control of the market to a board of vendors, councillors and residents.
In February, the city finished an award-winning $16-million renovation of the downtown library and the market, which is run by city staff and overseen by a councillor committee.
One of those councillors, Brad Clark, said Wednesday he is resigning over the constant wrangling with vendors: “I’ve been very frustrated … This (renovation) was a huge investment by the city. Other businesses out there would jump at the opportunity to be at the market and pay the rent they’re paying in such an incredibly gorgeous building.”
Most stallholders pay between $5,000 and $6,000 a year for the city-owned stalls. In the past, the market has consistently lost around $300,000 a year.
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