A city committee has voted to extend the Ottawa Farmer’s Market’s stay at Lansdowne Park for another year and dip into reserves to help cover costs.
The city’s Agricultural and Rural Affairs committee voted Thursday to extend the pilot project for 2010 with the option to continue it into 2011, and allocate $111,500 from an account for one-time and unforeseen expenses to cover the parking and rent revenue Lansdowne would otherwise make from the space occupied by the market.
Coun. Gord Hunter opposed tapping the emergency fund for what he saw as a taxpayer subsidy to what has become a successful business. “This is not an unforeseen circumstance,” he said.
“This is an operational issue, where I feel, and I differ from my colleagues, that this business should be paying its full way.”
Ottawa Farmer’s Market vice-president Gerry Rochon was pleased with the result.
“I know they look at it as a subsidy, we look at it as an investment in the city,” he said.
The main problem, he said, is “pilot project syndrome,” with the question of a permanent home still unresolved pending the outcome of the Lansdowne redevelopment.