Wednesday 25 March 2015

Is This Renewal Or Just Evolution? - A Traders View

The debate over QVM Renewal has created quite some angst in the trader group as we argue over whether renewal is the saviour of our market, or the destroyer. There are traders who believe we should leave the market alone and others who believe we need to arrest the sales decline that shows no sign of stopping.

There is no doubt that retailing has changed forever - the GFC made sure of that. There is also no doubt that our market has been sorely neglected - certainly over the last 20 years or so. So making up for lost ground was always going to bring the possibility of change.

But how much change are we really talking about? We are certainly not talking about a land grab of the size proposed back in the early 2000's. Yes, a very small parcel of land at the southern tip of the market will go, but in the context of a 7 hectare market site in the middle of a major city, our footprint remains huge - just ask David O'Neill.

Are we going to tear down our buildings? Well the toilet block in Queen St. is going, but that is about it.  Are we going to dramatically change the format of the market? Basically our trading areas are going to stay where they are with the bonus of a new market related area at Munro's corner. Trading under H & I Sheds remains a question mark.

Are we going to change the way we operate? To some extent we are. The market is proposing a greater spread of trading hours so we can at last start to accommodate the over-whelming wishes of our customers. QVM and its Board have been at pains to guarantee that traders will not be forced to trade 7 days, and that we can accomplish a wider spread of hours through offering traders a greater variety of trading options. In short, some of us will be trading while others are not. Some of us may need to re-arrange our competing family and business activities but there is nothing new about that in the history of running small businesses, particularly in retail.

So, I am proposing that that we are talking about nothing more than evolution for our market. We are adjusting our offer so that we better suit the changing nature of consumer demands. 

Does that mean we sit back and let the process flow over us? Hell no!!! Much of the planning for QVM is being done by some very smart minds but nobody has the on-the-ground experience of traders. We will need to be actively involved in this process to make sure that any changes make sense from a retail perspective. The assurance from the QVM Board that we will be involved in the detail is therefore most welcome.

It is my humble opinion that renewal evolution beats the hell out of leaving things as they are.  Considered input by traders is essential and the opportunity to make our market better should be embraced.

Greg Smith - QVMAC Representative and proud trader.

25/03/2015 14:57:02 Is This Renewal Or Just Evolution? - A Traders View "I both agree and disagree with you passionately on two main points here Greg:
Firstly I agree that this is just an evolution of the market and trading - rather then complain I think that it is best that traders plan for the future and be more flexible in their approach to trading.
However I disagree with you strongly that trader involvement is a concern in the renewal process.  You have pointed out that the board have given you assurances that traders opinions will be heard, but when exactly - this is the final consultation process and through the previous consultation process traders views were effectively blacked out.  If traders are not listened to now they never will be, I find the statement from an earlier article that qvm board member Jane Fenton assured you that there will be trader involvement ""as soon as priorities are identified"" extremely worrying.  Is the 158 strategic brief not enough proof that priorities are already identified?
We have endured the consultation or lip service period - yet we have trader representatives feeling 'assured' by what clearly looks like more lip service - on the masterplan timeline they do not have to ignore our concerns for much longer until the FINAL plan is released. 
Having said that, if we move forward and accept that a lot of decisions have been made already - and our trader representatives have the courage to admit that the process is moving along without us we can begin to plan for the future and prepare for a different business model. Sitting in Limbo and pretending that the market renewal will involve our concerns is of no benefit to our traders - we need to plan for the different future rather than wait (in hope) for involvement in the plan" -
Thanks for your input - Ed.

26/03/2015 00:13:47 Market renewal "Sad to say that as a passionate and long serving market stall holder, I feel that only ' lip service' is being paid to us in this market renewal. I agree that we need to bring the market into the new age.... However if there had been a few modifications over the past 20 years we would not be in this situation. I appreciate the work of this editor, however difficult it might be... Go Greg!"
Thanks for your input E - Ed.

26/03/2015 00:20:16 Market renewal "Ps I am overseas and I look forward to any comments that might appear on Victraders!"

26/03/2015 09:26:02 New plans - whom will they benefit? "My difficulty with redevelopment plans are as follows: Master plan is presented without any details!? How can one vote on a master plan without the fine print? Would you buy a new house without knowing where the kitchen / bedrooms / living areas are? Yet we're asked to adopt a new master plan with details to follow. Furthermore with works ready to start in 2016, it is impossible for the fine print not to exist - one year in construction industry is a very short time. So either details are not shown to us, traders, as they are unfavorable to us or the developers are really incompetent and really do not have the details yet. Master plan call for removal of traders from footpath of Queen st - where are they going to go? Market is what it is due to hard working traders - they have toiled and worked hard to make the place attractive and it is this atmosphere that attracts a certain market crowd. Surely redevelopment should be for the benefit of existing traders and not at their expense. We are promised golden mountains in future, but so far it is obvious that: stand sizes will become smaller and traders from footpath of Queen st will be moved. Issue of loosing stands and relocation must be addressed now to a) find an amicable solution and b) to relieve fears that many traders have. Peoples livelihood depends on it!" David 
Thanks for your input David - Ed.