Special Report

Farmers' Market Committee Meeting Today

The Farmers' Market Transition Subcommittee will hear appeals from stallholders whose applications were rejected, and will consider a motion instructing staff to seek additional space to accommodate more stallholders.

By RTH Staff
Published December 09, 2010

A motion attached to the agenda of today's Farmers' Market Transition Subcommittee meeting would instruct staff to negotiate extra space from Yale Properties to accommodate stallholders who no longer fit in the renovated Market.

Council voted on December 7 to approve a motion stating that decisions made by the Subcommittee on accepting or rejecting stallholder applications are final and are not subject to approval by full Council.

The long list of delegation requests to today's meeting includes several stallholders whose applications were rejected: Lorelei Charles, Café; Thang Luu, Thango Meats Inc.; Ron Jepson, Jepson's Fresh Meats; Filomena Cunha, Lina's European Pastries; Maria Materno, Genuine Bread House Bakery; Shane Coleman, representing Hamilton Farmers' Market Stallholders; Julia Serna, Vendor; Darioush Khavari, Sam & Son International Cheese Limited; Wu Rui Long, Ken's Chicken Corner; Nam Ky Truong, Truong Produce; Elizabeth Janos, Multi Traditional Bakery; Henrietta Papp; Colin Geoffrey Millar, Millar Alexander Barristers and Solicitors, Solicitor for Charlie's Corner Produce Market/Charlie's Corner International; Colin Geoffrey Millar, Millar Alexander Barristers and Solicitors, Solicitor for Lisa Hori of Infinity Foods; Yogarani, Can Asia; Paul Spera, Spear's Produce; Roy Munoz, Country Green Garden or Country Green Fruits & Vegetables; Flora Munoz, Florsam Bulk, Beans, Fruits & Vegetables; Andrzej Rudzinski, Karlik Pastry; Alan Shikatani, Future Bakery; Aney Kollanthara, Taste of India; Saji Kollanthara, Woodpecker Handicraft Gallery; and Hat Huynh, The Living Kitchen.

This is their only opportunity to appeal the city decision and have their applications reconsidered.

According to Anna Bradford, the city's culture director, many of the applications were previously rejected because they were incomplete. A properly completed application is a major selection criterion.

Stallholders have had the opportunity to meet with staff and complete their applications in advance of today's meeting, but several observers have noted that language issues are a significant barrier for many of the applicants.

The delegation list also includes Jennifer Hompoth, speaking on behalf of Friends of Hamilton Farmers' Market. Ms. Hompoth recently sent a letter to the Committee and Staff arguing that the City's policy of bureaucratic transactions with stallholders does not make for real inclusiveness.

Here is the full text of the motion:

Whereas there is a higher demand for stall space than currently available in the Hamilton Farmers' Market, and;

Whereas, the new direction for the Hamilton Farmers' Market includes the return of a seasonal outdoor market component along York Boulevard;

Therefore be it resolved:

(a) That Culture Division staff in conjunction with Real Estate staff be directed to negotiate with Yale Properties Inc. for additional vendor space adjacent to the Hamilton Farmers' Market to expand its operation;

(b) That staff be directed to negotiate a favourable rate similar to current stall fees;

(c) That staff report back on how many vendors can be accommodated in this additional space;

(d) That staff be directed to develop and implement the seasonal outdoor market program including, but not limited to, operating hours, application and assessment processes and licensing arrangements.

26 Comments

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 09, 2010 at 10:30:19

Update: I just heard that the motion to look at expanding the market space was moved by Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr and carried by the committee. Anna Bradford will report back to the committee on December 16.

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By fHayek (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2010 at 10:34:19

No decision will be made until the committee has heard all appeals. This will carry over to a meeting on Dec 16th (9-noon)

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2010 at 10:36:47

Guess its easy to diss the city for poor planning, but on a positive note, it's nice to step back and see the bigger picture of vendors really wanting to be there.

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By fHayek (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2010 at 10:46:21

@CptKirk

interesting comment from staff lawyer about having right-of-ways shared by vendors. isnt possible till the 2012 contract.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted December 09, 2010 at 11:08:38

How much did RTH have to do with this motion? A great deal I would say! Have a look at the comments on this thread

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By fHayek (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2010 at 11:14:46

Point of clarification from Brad Clark: Vendor appeals will no longer be held to a 5 minute limit. (appeals are not delegations)

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 09, 2010 at 11:20:05

How about a second market building in the old Pete&Marty's location? It has a wicked tile mosaic floor, lots of natural light and faces York St right next to the current market. I'd love two market buildings with their own feel and vibe. There is outdoor patio space on the east side of the Pete&Marty's location as well for summer lunch etc.....
I love the St Lawrence Market in TO and their multiple buildings, as well as the many buildings at the Pike Place Market in Seattle. Downtown should be accommodating as many businesses as want to be there, not turning them down.

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By Pleading (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2010 at 13:17:56

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 09, 2010 at 15:01:08

Oh, that's right. I forgot. In Hamilton, citizens who want to see growth, business and vibrancy need to sit down and shut-up and allow the rocket scientists who have been running our city for the past 40 years to continue on with the status-quo. And why not? Look around you.... this place is a beacon of urban prosperity and a world model of excellence for everyone to learn from......

You're right. The track record among those desiring a bright future for Hamilton hasn't been very good so far. It's not easy overcoming the rich old boys club that only cares about their bank accounts.

Comment edited by jason on 2010-12-09 14:02:10

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By Oh Jason (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2010 at 18:44:37

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By Tecumseh (registered) | Posted December 09, 2010 at 18:46:11

Most of the comments seem pretty supportive of the vendors who got shut out of the new market facility. I'm just curious, is this support universal? I mean, back in September everyone seemed quite excited that the criteria to decide who would make it in to the new space focused on local food, locally produced goods, etc. I for one won't miss half the vendors who weren't allocated space. Like many (I would say the majority) of the comments back in September said, the guys bringing a truck full of garbage from the Ontario Food Terminal to the "Farmer's" market won't be missed. If we can negotiate space in Jackson Square for them to stay, that's fine. But I certainly hope we're not going to be paying their way, because in my opinion we kicked them out of the (subsidized) market for a reason. I am really looking forward to the new market with it's local farmer and producer focus.

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By Mohandas Gandhi (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2010 at 20:38:52

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted December 10, 2010 at 10:27:14

Here's another positive from this development. We know now that any stallholder in the new farmers market is likely a local provider, and anyone selling produce just outside the farmers market is likely using the Ontario Food Terminal and you'll know to avoid and anyone selling other products (such as coffee, nuts, baked goods, etc) will get a stall.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted December 10, 2010 at 12:22:29

The more vendors downtown, the better.

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted December 10, 2010 at 13:35:32

I started looking forward to the opening of the renovated market. Now I think it's a big fail. Based on today's online Spec, the City will be contacting Yale about the feasability of using space for additional market vendors. At least they are working on a solution. But overall, it just reflects poor planning. I almost fell off my chair when I saw Sam's Cheese wasn't approved for the new space. A big draw like Sam's should be placed right smack in the middle of the market. It drawes people into the centre of the space and they would be more likely to spend money at other vendors.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 10, 2010 at 14:00:03

please keep in mind that some of those stalls that were on the 'rejected' list will likely win their appeal and land in the new market. I'd be shocked if the Colombian coffee and Sams Cheese are going to be out in the annex market.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 10, 2010 at 14:20:52

I was just expecting the glut of indistinguishable Ontario Food Terminal sellers to get the boot, losing Colombian Coffee and Sam's Cheese was completely unexpected. That's why I've switched tunes on the subject, I'm sure many others feel the same way.

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By randomguy (anonymous) | Posted December 10, 2010 at 22:36:09

So was Sam's cheese incapable of filling out the application properly?

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By adam2 (anonymous) | Posted December 10, 2010 at 22:48:45

Of course the council in their wisdom didn't think of using the adjoining Hamilton City Centre that has hundreds of vacant square feet. It's like they are trying to keep the downtown as vacant as possible.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 10, 2010 at 23:04:50

no chance Yale would allow the city to move the market out of their facility into the City Centre. It shouldn't be the city's job to bail out the owners of the city centre who've done nothing but bring in dollar stores and pawn shops since purchasing the building.

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By support the farmers market (anonymous) | Posted December 11, 2010 at 11:55:02

Please note some stall holders did not receive a second stand but what about the ones that did not receive any. All the vendors were promised a spot on the market, this is what is so unfair. Why do new vendors take precedence getting spots when existing vendors were promised there was space? Now we want to create space for people who were promised a spot in favour of new vendors getting their spots? Get real people many decisions were made behind closed doors and now the community is catching wind of it and the councillors and Ms. Anna Bradford do not know what to do to clean up this mess.
Put yourself in the longstanding vendors shoes...they work tirelessly to give the market its people appeal. It is these same vendors who pay the salaries of the councillors in city hall. Lets put a cooking kitchen class in the new market and let us put people who sell chocolate and lavender soaps ahead of people who truly sell what makes a market a market. Maybe the city deserves more money over the time they will spend cleaning up this farce of an appeal system. Remember the longstanding original vendors in the old market and the sacrifices they have made to give us the Hamilton Farmers Market. they didn't all start in this grandiosi new market that is being put forth. No other worker in Hamilton would have ever been treated this unfairly why should these people be treated this way. I say get your lawyers ready and fight for what is rightfully yours then take what you owe to them off the councillors salaries.
A very disappointed Hamiltonian

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted December 12, 2010 at 12:42:04

All the vendors were promised a spot on the market, this is what is so unfair.

This letter is a great example of why we need a better mechanism for people to properly grasp the salient facts of any given issue. (It also points up the supercharged tendency for people to shift into righteous-indignation mode. Which is fine...as long as they properly grasp the salient facts.)

What bothers me about this issue...and just about all others featured here on RTH...is that a) there's a deeply-embedded perception that nothing but mismanagement and chicanery go on at City Council, b) there's a ridiculously wide chasm between so many commenters' understanding of the issue and the actual facts, and c) most energies are spent not in arguing different stances based on a good grasp on facts, but on ratcheting up this just-mentioned righteous-indignation mode. (I'll add that it sure appears to me that few people taking the time to comment -or even in the real world, on buses, in malls, on streets- actually understand how local governance works.)

It's funny; what's called for regarding our public servants is more accountability, more transparency through better guidelines, rules and regulations. All fine and good. But I'm beginning to believe very strongly that we need to adjust the other side of this 'compact', that of the residents'.

So; until politicians 'get' that they have a critical -and moral- obligation to keep in mind who they're working for, and under what conditions, with what goals in mind, and until the citizenry 'get' that their idle, self-indulgent, uninformed prattlings serve no purpose than a variation on the modern 'entitlement' ethos, then we're in deep doodoo.

How does that quote go? "You're entitled to your own opinion. You're not entitled to your own facts.'

We really need to do more to increase the relationship of engagement between residents and their Councillors, because if we achieved this, I have no difficulties believing that the level of informed discourse would rise to unseen levels.

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2010-12-12 11:44:17

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By beaslyfireworkstechnican (registered) | Posted December 12, 2010 at 12:51:53

Andrew Potter weighs in on the situation:

http://authenticityhoax.squarespace.com/...

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted December 12, 2010 at 13:49:41

Mystoneycreek, I do agree with much of what you say.

On the fact-checking side, are you aware that the farmers in the market did indeed receive written confirmation, before the renovation began, in the market newsletter to vendors updating them on the planned renovation, that all vendors who either (a) chose to go into the 'temporary space' or (b) chose not to set up in the temporary space, but wanted back in the new market, would indeed get a spot in the new market? One or two vendors asked for (and received) additional written confirmation specific to themselves, but this was a piece sent to all vendors.

This was one of the most important pieces of paperwork I've seen in this whole debacle, and it does indeed confirm - in writing - that vendors were to expect a spot in the new market, before this whole "reapplication" process began.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2010 at 16:47:23

While I'll totally agree that facts and a good grasp of the issue, I certainly think terms like "mismanagement" and "chicanery" apply here. And if the issue was simply that the new market was smaller, I wouldn't be nearly so annoyed.

What really bothers me is that the City has used virtually every mention of the issue to take pot-shots at market vendors, talking about those nasty OFT vendors, as a smokescreen for their actual plans to chase people like Julia Serna out. Had they come to us with their hats in their hands saying 'sorry, we couldn't help it', I would have sympathy. But to constantly claim that they're doing this to promote more free choice? That's offensive.

Perhaps what frightens me most of all is that there's a very good chance nobody making these decisions had any clue that "the Columbian Coffee Woman" was one of the most popular people downtown.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2010 at 18:28:29

I'm going to give staff the benefit of the doubt - I believe they're guilty of not doing enough to make the process accessible to people with language barriers, but I don't think they're guilty of malice. The real issue is the City's default position of narrow, top-down, bureaucratic administration and tokenism, which turns up across all departments.

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