Vendors at Toronto’s farmers’ markets may get special parking permits
City councillor Mike Layton is sticking up for Toronto’s farmers’ markets. The rookie representative from Trinity-Spadina feels markets should be exempt from a daily charge by transportation authorities in cases where vendors need street-side parking to set up shop. For the past five years, vendors that need parking have been paying an annual “street event fee” of $81.33. Recently, however, city officials notified market organizers that the fee would soon start to be applied each day. At least five park-based markets would be affected by the changes: Trinity-Bellwoods, Riverdale Farm, East Lynn, Withrow Park and Sorauren Park.
Anne Freeman, coordinator of Toronto Farmers’ Market Network, wrote Layton to express the financial strain this daily fee would put on markets throughout Toronto. Considering farmers’ market budgets are usually less than $10,000, Freeman told Layton the daily fee “would threaten the viability of Toronto’s small markets . . . In the case of Trinity-Bellwoods, which runs for 25 market days, this would mean a cost of $2,033.25 for parking alone.”
Layton’s response is a proposed one-time annual feel of $71.97. “How can you not support farmers and food in our communities? It’s not that much money out of our pockets, we’ve never charged them this much before,” Layton told the National Post. The public works committee will consider the proposal at its April meeting.