Some 90 per cent of respondents to a draft markets policy felt markets had a positive impact on the economy.
That was among the insights gleaned from the 108 submissions in response to Port Macquarie-Hastings Council’s then draft Markets Policy.
The council adopted the Markets Policy at its November meeting.
The policy said the council supported quality markets, acknowledging they contributed to the community by providing spaces to gather and socialise, and help activate public spaces.
“Markets can also complement the offerings of local businesses and provide opportunities for emerging enterprises,” the policy said.
Deputy mayor Lisa Intemann said the outcome of the policy would be to take a more active approach to markets in terms of managing markets.
She said policy would come back to the council in a year.
That is when a follow-up report is due on the local markets situation including the operation of the Markets Policy.
The council says an identified need to better manage the market approval process to facilitate well managed markets which support local communities, while complementing existing businesses, prompted the policy.
The council adopted the policy with the following amendment to one of the clauses.
In each of the Port Macquarie, Wauchope or Laurieton CBDs, in any week, only one regular market will be permitted from Monday to Friday, with a set-up time to be no earlier than 3pm, and one regular market on the weekend with the Saturday set-up time to be no earlier than noon, as a general guideline.
Competing applications will be considered on merit with pre-approved markets taking precedence.
Regular markets are defined as four or more markets in one calendar year.
Jill McKittrick from Ewetopia Farm said the no earlier than 3pm set-up time on weekdays for regular CBD markets in Port Macquarie, Wauchope or Laurieton would make it difficult for producers who had jobs to do on their properties at the end of the day.
“I see where they are coming from in terms of not wanting to compete with local businesses but it seems like they are excluding the very people they are trying to support,” she said.
“To me, it’s really moving towards people buying ready to eat food.
“We feel as a local producer we are not being supported and encouraged to grow our business.”
Mrs McKittrick said in their experience of produce markets, the most successful were in the morning, while the Tuesday afternoon markets worked too, but once it past late afternoon, there were fewer people looking to do that sort of shopping.
She referred to a report compiled by the Sage market on the South Coast which presented research showing an increase in spending at retail business as a direct result of people attending that weekly market.
Mrs McKittrick said the 12-month timeframe for another report to the council seemed like a long time to get any feedback.
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