On June 20, the General Issues Committee (GIC, formerly Committee of the Whole) balked at a proposal to put out a request for proposals for a one-time forgivable loan of up to $650,000 to incentivize a new full-service supermarket in downtown Hamilton. After a long and painful debate, Councillors just couldn't bring themselves to approve the motion, even though it didn't commit them to anything and the money to fund it was already budgeted.
Flash forward to this past Monday, the most recent GIC meeting. This time, Councillors agreed to a brownfield remediation grant of up to $650,000 to demolish the old industrial facility at 440 Victoria Avenue North, as well as downtown property improvement tax increment grant of $593,248.25 to J. Beume Real Estate Ltd for a planned new building at James Street North and Vine Street.
It kind of makes you wonder whether all the anguish over the supermarket grant, which is a tiny bit different from these other, more familiar grants, was really commensurate with the size and risk of the proposal.
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