We are over­run by film­mak­ers

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

RE: Movie mak­ing in Hamil­ton

Af­ter mov­ing to Hamil­ton we dis­cov­ered our neigh­bour­hood is fre­quently over­run by film­mak­ers. Af­ter look­ing into this, it ap­pears the City’s film­ing pol­icy does more harm than good, sup­ports an un­fair com­pen­sa­tion sys­tem, and is based on al­low­ing more res­i­den­tial film­ing than its com­peti­tors.

The City re­ported that film­ing brought in $8.4 mil­lion in 2015. Sounds like a lot but it’s barely a round­ing er­ror in a bil­lion dol­lar econ­omy and cer­tainly not enough to jus­tify what goes on in our neigh­bour­hoods. When the City dis­closes th­ese num­bers, it would be help­ful to know if the in­for­ma­tion comes from the film­mak­ers.

What­ever the amounts are, the cash is not fairly dis­trib­uted. Re­port­edly, ho­tels and other busi­nesses re­ceive sig­nif­i­cant sums. Res­i­dents rent­ing out homes are ru­moured to re­ceive up to $20,000 per day while neigh­bours ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the col­lat­eral dam­age of film­ing re­ceive noth­ing. It’s doubt­ful the City’s $58 per­mit fees cover its ex­penses; so all tax­pay­ers sub­si­dize those re­ceiv­ing the most money.

Un­like Toronto, Hamil­ton has no by­laws lim­it­ing res­i­den­tial film­ing and is the dream lo­ca­tion for any se­ries need­ing un­reg­u­lated ac­cess. Some­times, when a neigh­bour­hood reaches its break­ing point, the City will sus­pend film­ing. The stu­dios just move to another lo­ca­tion and re­peat the process. I sup­port the City’s ef­forts to pro­mote eco­nomic growth but we need a bal­anced ap­proach that pro­tects res­i­dents from ex­ces­sive film­ing. Fred Cranston, Hamil­ton

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