There is hope a council policy, which restricts the Real Food Markets set up time to 3pm, could be amended.
Stallholders at the Real Food Markets can’t set up before 3pm each Tuesday, effective from February, under Port Macquarie-Hastings Council’s Markets Policy.
Stallholders fear the council policy, if left unchanged, will lead to the demise of the weekly food market in the Port Macquarie CBD.
Mayor Peta Pinson has presented councillors with emails she received from market supporters and correspondence from Port Central owner Gowings Bros about the positive impact of the markets for Port Central.
She said the information could not be ignored and the community had been very vocal as far as the Real Food Markets were concerned.
The policy is far broader than the Real Food Markets but includes specific requirements around CBD markets in Port Macquarie, Wauchope and Laurieton.
“The Markets Policy wasn’t designed to affect that particular market,” Cr Pinson said.
The mayor said the policy was meant to be robust to protect the local government area from an influx of markets that didn’t necessarily have great product for the community.
Cr Pinson asked councillors to reflect on the matter and consider the Gowing Bros document relating to Port Central and information from the community.
She asked the councillors to consider rescinding the Markets Policy and make amendments to allow for a set up time earlier than 3pm.
“I’ve reflected and I feel we can do better,” Cr Pinson said.
“I think as a councillor collective we need to value opinions of our community.”
Cr Pinson plans to put forward a rescission motion to councillors, asking for two other signatures in support, so a rescission motion can go before a council meeting.
The council adopted the Markets Policy in November.
Ian McKittrick from Ewetopia Farm hopes the policy in its current form will be rescinded and the Real Food Markets stallholders permitted to set up earlier than 3pm.
February 5 was the first market day impacted by the policy and Mr McKittrick said sales were down.
Four stallholders operated out of Port Central’s creative hub before the market.
A Port Central management spokesperson said they supported the move for a rescission motion.
The spokesperson said Gowings Bros, which launched the markets, would like to see the longevity of the markets and support for local growers.
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