Comment 27261

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted November 10, 2008 at 19:14:11

What the city did to York Boulevard in the name of modernity over the last few decades should stand as a monument to the failures of "progress" oriented redevelopment projects in which a handfull of architects and bureacrats redesign the most heavily-used portions of the city to suit their own pseudo-utopian dreams. Thankfully, Hamilton has so many of these monuments (City hall, Jackson Square, we could stand to lose this one without missing it much. I only hope today's more "enlightened" planners say true to the logic, rather than the aesthetic, of Smart Growth and New Urbanism (and whatever other brand names you want to attach to walkable, livable communities) and that they don't make such mistakes again.

As for the Farmer's market, the farm stalls which are present such as Dillys or Buttrums deserve great big hugs. As do a number of the non-farming vendors, like the Columbian Coffee folks, or Ercillia's (I'm not sure about the spelling, though). I'm all in favour of grand renovations and new buildings, but let's think for a moment about the current urban structure of downtown first.

a) Are there large open spaces near the Market which are frequently unused, at least on weekends? b) Are these spaces subdivided into allocations of space usable for market stalls? c) Are these spaces currently making little or no money from those allocations?

Yes, yes and yes. The rough third of downtown devoted to shady, open-air parking lots could house every market vendor from here to New York city, and they almost all stand empty on weekends. $3/day is a small price to pay for a space big enough to fit a minivan - I doubt any market in the nation can boast rents that low.

Simply allowing people to put up stalls there, without interference from business licencing folks or shady parking lot operators (who'd be making a profit anyways) would allow a huge increase in the amount of goods available downtown, offer up opportunities for the multitude of people living in poverty nearby to make a few bucks and prove that Hamilton's downtown can indeed be vibrant, creative and unconventional. Flea marketeers, crafters, artisans, tailors, junkers, food-terminal raiders and backyard gardeners could all have a shot at slinging their wares without the hassle involved in renting a storefront, getting a business licence or insuring the lot. It'd be dirt cheap, it could be done by the end of the week if the will were there, and it would attract people downtown like nobody's business.

So why not?

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