QVMAC Representative, Stephen McLennan, submitted a number of questions to our CEO on behalf of traders. The questions relate to plans for an underground car park and the resulting impact on traders. Following are just some of the questions raised. Jan Cochrane-Harry’s responses are in italics.
1. How many stalls have to be trimmed to accommodate the proposed car park?
The proposed carpark is to go under Sheds A, B and C and the Sheds will be returned with the floor space the same size as that currently. Therefore no stalls have to be ‘trimmed’ for the purpose of accommodating the carpark.
2. Which areas of the Market does Management believe need to be trimmed?
I’d like to place the matter of ‘trimming’, as you put it, in its proper context.
The consistent feedback is that there is too much repetition and that management and trader reps need to work together to address this – whether there is an underground car park or not. It’s not “management’s view”, it is a reflection of what the customers (and also many fellow traders) are saying. As you know some traders have multiple stalls selling exactly the same product, and some traders buy the same stock from the same wholesalers.
It is our responsibility as management to help keep a focus on what customers want, and what they are rejecting - in order to keep the market relevant and vibrant. In that context management is simply trying to ‘guide’ traders and refocus them on their customer. It’s very easyfor traders to blame management.
We need to identifyand specify (preferably in consultation with the QVMAC trader representatives) which categories those are. It will also depend on the proposed final use of various areas under the sheds, and how shelter and roofing may affect the amount of usable floor space. There may also be other types of product or services which are currently missing that will be considered as appropriate to have in a future market. All these things are yet to be considered in depth and will be incorporated in the Draft Master Plan. We would be interested in the views of your Trader representatives. However, we are prepared to come back to a future Trader rep meeting with some preliminary proposals. I cannot commit to timing at this point.
As far as ‘trimming’ though, having facilities below ground should hopefully free up space at ground level which in effect creates more space for retail and people to circulate.
We certainly believe that customer information about location of product and traders needs to be improved in the immediate term and we are in the process of creating a customer information centre to help with this.
3. Would Management consider asking for voluntary retirements?
We will be asking everyone what their intentions are for the future.
‘Voluntary retirements’ are an employer/employee relationship concept, and not really relevant in an open market small-business environment. If traders who are considering retiring in the next few years were to let us know, that would be helpful to other traders and the overall planning process. Traders have a license and QVM will work with them within the parameters of those documents, giving as much advice of probable future intentions as possible once those directions start to firm.
4. How does Management propose to fit the remaining stalls into 3 less aisles?
We are considering potential use of Marquees and maybe some space in Mr Munro’s building onTherry Street. All possibilities will be explored in the next few months. We also need to consider what the effect is of all the cars that are parked under the sheds – and whether there is potential to set up an arrangement with nearby car parks and a possible shuttle system. Nothing is decided yet – all creative suggestions will be considered. We’d be interested in knowing what the Traders reps could suggest.
5. Will stalls become smaller to fit everyone in?
Not sure yet what the intentions of all traders are or how much space saving might be possible with regard to boxes and cars. Ideally, we would like traders to be able to keep their sizes (but not necessarily in multiple locations).
Potential options and scenarios in relation to the sizes and mix will start to emerge once we have spoken to every single trader. Further discussions on the aspect of the Temporary Market will be ongoing, with a plan expected to emerge in about October.