Monday 11 August 2014

Submission To Council On Tuesday

As reported in a previous article, QVMAC Representatives are preparing submissions for presentation to the Council (Future Melbourne Committee) on Tuesday evening.
We will attempt to get notes on each submission on to this website before the actual meeting. Submissions can be made either verbally or in writing. Here is Ivano’s proposed submission.

“We would like to speak on behalf of the non food vendors at the Market. Once known as 'Fancy Goods', more recently and commonly described as 'General Merchandise'.

We have been at the market pretty well from its inception, and for decades now have been the largest component of the Market, already in the early 70's we were and continue to make up over 60% of the market.

We are, for some, not the sexy part or the pretty part of the market but we are the part that has consistently provided the greatest share of the rental income stream of the market. By our calculations we are often providing between $150-170,000 per week. We have jokingly referred to ourselves as the 'Peoples Bank of QVM'. Where money readily goes out but very little money, or interest or love comes back.

Yes, historically, it has seemed to us that very few people in council or management have been interested in our area, historically there has been little interest in our customer base, in advertising, promoting or marketing our area, there has been little interest in lighting our area, or air circulation, or how to deal with extreme weather effects, and the list could go on (and on), because honestly, there has been little apparent interest in us at all really, except collecting our rents, that is. We tried for many years to request and eventually plead with management to show greater interest to the challenges and difficulties we were facing, to the changing nature of the retail world we were competing with and the need to take these issues seriously. But with what we felt was very little results or serious engagement.

So it was that traders, primarily General Merchandise traders, some 2.5 years ago requested to speak to the Lord Mayor who generously received us.
And here we are now, after we asked for greater interest in us and our challenges, what do we appear to be getting in response?

The message we are hearing is: "We would like you to make space for other things, we would like you to shift and downsize".
To many traders that seems very much like, thank you very much for your money all these years, but we don't need or want you any more.

It's not too hard to understand why there is frustration and fear.
Why there is anger and suspicion.

General Merchandise traders, the traders that make up 60% of the market, the traders that have been paying their rents week in week out for half a century and beyond and have generally felt unloved and uncared for is not feeling a lot of love now either.

This is not just about the underground car park, this issue goes a lot deeper. And whilst some recent changes in management, the Board and Council have resulted in there being far greater transparency and what appears to be sincere interest shown towards listening to our plight ( with the public release of documents like Governance Protocols for Wholly Owned Subsidiary Companies / QVM Pty Ltd 2014-15 Business Plan / Board Participation at QVMAC meetings and many other collaborative initiatives), whilst this is certainly welcome progress, unfortunately, after so many years under a very different management style, it must be said that many traders are still in doubt as to whether that interest extends very much beyond current levels, and whether they may not purely be a temporary change in approach.

So here we are, at a cross roads.
Can there be true collaboration?
Can there be some real interest shown to the largest component of the market?
Is this really all about "enhancing and supporting market trading"?

The plan as it stands at the moment gives very little to no real detail to help us accurately understand the answers to those questions, but it does give plenty to worry about. 
Can General Merchandise traders really be expected to support it? 
Not until we get more detail, detail about what it actually will accomplish and how it will accomplish those stated objectives.

Will it truly enhance and support market trading?
We cant say as we haven't really seen anything yet.
We believe we can say with certainty though that it will disrupt trading and cause a major upheaval to our area of the market.

WILL we support it? 
If it does truly "enhance and support market trading" of course we will support it. 
But with so little detail and reliable factual information about what is going to be done and how it is going to be done along with the resulting consequences to traders and trade, at this point it is difficult for GM traders to be terribly excited and supportive. 
We are NOT saying no, but we cannot give unreserved support until we see clearly what the plans and proposals are. 

Just as we are wary about the detail, we ask you to be also.

It is indeed time to endorse the "enhancement" and give "support (to) market trading"!
It is time to review the performance of the market and how it is dealing with the ever changing retail environment it competes against.
It is time to return the Queen Victoria Market to its premier position as one of the worlds greatest market.

Is your endorsement of the current proposal the way to achieve that?
We would love to be able to say "Yes, endorse this proposal" but can't until we see more detail.”

This draft was amended 1409hrs 11/8/2014

13/08/2014 12:12:11 Submission To Council On Tuesday "Well written Ivano.
Maybe we should have just asked, would you like us to all pack up on Sunday night and not return?
That would make it easier for them....
As a group, maybe we should all get together, buy a parcel of land, and make our own new VIC MARKET, and run it the way it should be. We all might be better of in the long run." Lance Dyer