Wednesday 15 July 2015

New Trader Association Has A Say At Council Meeting

The newly formed QVM Lower Market Inc made a submission to City Council's Future Melbourne (Major Projects) Committee on Tuesday evening. QVM Lower Market Inc makes particular reference to issues impacting on the Dairy Hall. Following are the submission notes given to us by presenter Catherine Underhill.

Lord Mayor, and Councillors.
I am here to speak to the submission you received from Dominic Esposito on behalf of the Queen Victoria Market, Lower Market Proprietary Limited

First, the Carpark: In converting the car park to public space, the areaof the marketisdiminished. So… if the new car park is to be on the Munro site, will it be subject to the Queen Victoria Market land act. If not, what guarantees do we have that any car park will actually serve the market?

In a similar vein, what consideration is given to the future legal structure for the Munro site? Will the commercial portions of the develpment remain with the QVM? Will we end up with chainstores and a supermarket or be swamped by businesses identical to the current offer, thereby diminishing our viability.

The language around the plans for the Lower Market is wishy washy and vague, leaving the intendedoutcomes completely immune from scrutiny. Is this murk intentional, or is it a genuine reflection of the state of play? There are differences in language and purpose between the draft and the final plan, which begs these questions.

There is uncertainty about the future of H and I shed. Will they be an enclosed adjunct to the Dairy Hall? Will there be shops down the market side of Therry St., surrounding and hiding the market. Will the lower market still be a “one stop shop” including vegies, or will our magic triangle be destroyed?
The Lower Market Traders shouldbe included in planning at the formative stage. We should have funding for advice and representation to assist us to participate. And, we should have full access to the reports and documents that inform decisions.

A few years ago there was a plan to turn Deli Lane into a covered seating area. What has happened to it?Deli Lane will be crucial to the market during construction. Customers will need a place to retreat from the chaos on Therry Street. We need to re-activate that plan now to help minimise the impact of the Munro site work.

The Lower Market Traders are currently offered 5-year leases with no options. There is no question that the renewal will result in a downturn, yet there is no discussion of how to mitigate the effect on our business, or reward traders who continue to invest and work in this environment.
Furthermore, our rents have been raised significantly at a time when our businessesare most vulnerable. What extraordinary logic. The leasing arrangements should have been and should be negotiated in the context of this looming transition. Traders are here because they have made a lifestyle choice to be a part of a business they are proud of. This should be applauded and supported.

And finally, it should be of great concern to council that a significant number of traders are so distrustful of the renewal process that they have sought (and paid for) legal representation. There is a sense that the big end of town is gathering force, ready to push us aside to make way for development and a future they see and we don’t. If this is not the case, then you need to include us in the planning. We are the genuine interface with the public.

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