Hamilton City Council will look at providing a 75% rent reduction to vendors at the municipally owned Hamilton Farmers’ Market.
This comes after the City’s automated billing systems issued rent arrears notices to vendors in the market. The arrears notices were issued automatically, sixty days after April 1st.
Vendors tell The Public Record the notices were very concerning. A vendor who operates a food business said their “heart sank” with concern they could face eviction from their stall.
Once TPR reported upon the notices, vendors state the City informed them of plans to provide COVID rent relief.
Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr, who no longer sits on the Hamilton Farmers’ Market Board, says Ward 7 Councillor Esther Pauls will introduce the motion at an upcoming City Council meeting to provide 75% rent relief.
The Public Record asked Farr the following question by email:
“What is your position in regards to charging full rent to Market Vendors during COVID, including those which are closed due to public health orders signed by the Medical Officer of Health”
Farr responded is “supportive” and will second Pauls’ motion.
“It is necessary that the City support local small businesses in whatever way we have at our disposal and we need to set an example that this is the right thing to do”, writes Paul in response to The Public Record.
“We are planning on bringing forward a motion, first to the [Market] Board and then to Council for 75% rent relief to the vendors for the months of April, May and June. This proposal would be similar to the terms offered by CERCA where the tenant only pays 25% of their rent”.
Pauls says the Market is going to continue to support vendors, within the limitations of the Municipal Act.
[The City is not allowed to provide “Obvious undue advantage” to any business, thus cannot provide supports not generally available to non-Market businesses, Section 106 of the Municipal Act]
The Market is assisting vendors to obtain PPE, increasing cleaning within the Market, and preparing plans for when the Province allows for dine-in or patio food services.
The Market Board meets Monday night, the meeting will not be streamed. The Office of the City Clerk has not yet completed a plan for online streaming of all City of Hamilton public meetings.
Hamilton City Council is not meeting this week, and the next Council ratification meeting is scheduled for June 25.