Sunday 1 April 2012

The Lord Mayor's Dilemma

Trying to introduce change cannot be easy for a Lord Mayor particularly when it involves one of Melbourne's precious icons, The Queen Victoria Market.

Over recent years, any attempt to herald change has been met with a predictable outcry of "Leave our market alone", "It doesn't need changing". Melburnians are very protective of their QVM. However, if the local public sees one weakness in the market it is the repetitiveness of some trader categories (particularly women's clothing) and the trashy nature of some stalls. Let's not forget that it is QVM management who select traders and their products, but that is another story. The point is that the Lord Mayor has chosen the line of least resistance by taking a popularist view of increasing the fresh food offer and reducing the general merchandise.

Of course, tourists may have a different view of what is important at the QVM and despite a banal attempt in yesterday's Herald-Sun to say that fresh fish was more important to tourists than general merchandise, we know that tourists spend their money at the top end of the market, not in fresh food.
Nevertheless, if the Lord Mayor is to garner maximum support for change he has probably chosen the right course, and we will be watching the comments columns with great interest.