Local News

City of Kingston set to take over public market day-to-day operations

The Kingston Public Market has been a city staple and gathering place for over two centuries and for vendors like Matt Rabbie, it’s direct access to the public to sell his wares.

“It’s such a great market, it’s in a perfect location, it has tons of community support,” Rabbie said.

After contracting the task out last year, the city will go back to running the market next year.

For the first time last year, the municipality contracted out the day-to-day running of the market to Loving Spoonful, a local food security charity.

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“The intent was to try to move more towards a farmers market, which means focus on farmers and producers,” said Lanie Hurdle, the city’s CAO.

Loving Spoonful has opted not to renew its contract with the city.

A city staff report lists funding and policy concerns for Loving Spoonful not renewing the contract but Rabbie says those are only some of the issues.

“Staff’s attitude towards working with vendors tends to be that they don’t really want to bother asking us about anything,” Rabbie said referring to the municipality. “They generally don’t tell us when they make amendments to the market bylaw.”

Rabbie also blames the city for creating uncertainty by cancelling some market days.

“I’m starting seeds in March, April. I’m planting crops in the ground in May, June,” Rabbie said. “Then all of a sudden there’s no sale for those crops because staff decided to cancel a market.”

Kingston’s CAO says they’ve only cancelled one market day in the last decade and shortened the hours of another one.

“When we had the major Tragically Hip concert in the square and that was a once in a lifetime,” said Hurdle.

In addition to taking over operations next year, the city will also look to update policies, focusing on better serving and attracting vendors to the market.

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