Sunday 1 May 2016

Editorial: A Trader Election At Last

The current crop of Trader Representatives was elected 4 years ago and has endured an intense period of market evaluation, strategic analysis, master plans and now renewal.

Ten representatives (actually more recently 8 active representatives) have been expected to liaise with traders, present issues, respond to management requests, attend meetings, report back to traders, participate in focus groups, report back to traders, reach consensus, argue cases, seek assistance, engage with city councillors, prepare Board submissions, report back to traders, and so on. All this has been conducted as unpaid part timers trying to operate their own market businesses.

And if I may be allowed a grizzle, market traders are a wonderful lot of people, some would say the salt of the earth, and they have strong opinions on many issues, but their willingness to actually get involved and contribute time and effort for the common good can at times be lacking. Have I said that gently enough?

The upcoming election is an opportunity to redress the imbalance of past years (to few representatives, too much to do). This is an opportunity for a new batch of traders to contribute and really influence the future of our market. And the difference this time around is that potentially 27 representatives will share the load. That will mean better representation and more good minds directed at problem solving.

But a word of warning - this is an election and it has political ingredients. You know the pitfalls – promises that can’t be kept, secret agendas, good talkers but poor performers. Traders will need to be on their toes to select candidates who will do a good job without fear or favour, and who really have the interests of market traders and the market at heart. That is a great responsibility and fortunately at this election we have time to carefully consider our options. Hopefully many traders will embrace the opportunity. Who do you think would make a good candidate?

By Greg Smith