Sunday 29 June 2014

Traders Didn’t Ask For A Renewal

When representatives of traders attended the Lord Mayors office some three years ago it was to ask the CoM to correct years of management neglect at QVM. This neglect was one of the significant contributors to a serious decline in trader’s business.

The City of Melbourne’s response was to initiate a renewal. It was said that a renewal would address many of the issues facing the market and provide a framework for taking our market forward for the next phase of its life. All that is admirable and the process of formal consultation has identified the key areas that need attention – car parking, rest and recreation areas, trader facilities, stall mix, more food outlets, and so on. This has all been done very professionally and we have even had Global Market Experts contributing to the debate. When all these renewal items are in place, and assuming they have been done well, we will be back on track.

But in the meantime, the trading conditions that existed when we first went to the Lord Mayor have not been addressed. And not only are traders still genuinely suffering from poor trade but we are faced with a construction period that will make matters worse. This is our dilemma. Traders would be happy to embrace the renewal of our great market but only if we felt our concerns were really being addressed. A consultation process that listens to our concerns, and dutifully records our comments, is pointless if those concerns are not addressed along the way.

It is sometimes said that traders are not on board a renewal because of self interest. Hell yes! Why wouldn’t modest fragile businesses be concerned about their livelihood and their responsibility to family and their future? You may say this is an emotive response, and it is, but it is also a reality that deserves respect. Management say they have not formalised their intent for QVM. They are still in planning phase. As one of our Victrader contributors so eloquently put in a post yesterday – “l know, the management line is, we can't say, as we don't know yet, well I'm sorry, but you need to do better than that.”

QVM do need to do better than that. The gap between trader and management is large and that is because we are focusing on renewal but not on the bigger issue for traders which is viability. 

Have Your Say - click here.

29/06/2014 19:56:46 Traders didn't ask for renewal "This is very true indeed. A number of issues that have been raised over the years are still issues. 
There still feels to be a disconnect between management and the traders, and there is still a feeling that we are being treated like a Shopping Centre and not a market.
Renewal could be a good thing for the market, if it is done right, and actually supports the traders to supply the customers with a shopping experience, but the biggest concern is, if there are NO shoppers, who will benefit from the renewal in the end, NO ONE.
Customer numbers are dropping (well in the top end anyway - this is where l am - so not sure about the other areas) despite statistics saying we have increasing numbers. When you actually stand in the aisles you can physically see that we have less people walking in the aisles than we did 12 months ago.
For a renewal project to work, we all need to be on board, but traders are going to struggle to get on board when, the main fundamental thing that traders have been asking for, for years and years, is an increase in shoppers, and we are seeing a physical decline in shoppers, then we are all very sceptical of something that management is unable to tell us anything about (renewal detail), but something we all know will have a negative impact on our business during the process.
Traders can say its because of lack of parking that we are struggling for numbers, but hey, approx 25 years ago, we actually had a smaller car park, yes thats right, we had 2 more sheds (N & O) that were removed to create a larger car park, and you could not walk down the aisles due to the number of people in the market. 
I think we need to ask some questions as to what are the real reasons customers are no longer at the QVM." Lance