Friday 29 January 2016

QVMAC – Renewal Update, New CEO, Lunar New Year, Power Issues.......

As you will see from our heading, yesterday’s Queen Victoria Market Advisory Committee meeting covered a broad range of issues which we will attempt to summarise here.

The meeting was attended by members of QVM Management and all Trader Representatives except Ben Vitalone. Apologies were received from Matt Ryan and Board Members, Paul Sheahan and Jane Fenton.

1.Joanne Wandel – Renewal Program Director was introduced to the group and she gave us a brief rundown on the following matters.
          Munro’s Construction on Therry St. – submissions for the building to be constructed on the Munro site have been received from some high profile developers including CBUS the superannuation giant. Submissions are being worked through at present with a number of advisers contributing to the assessment. Final bids are expected to be in by the end of April with a decision hoped for mid-year.
          Renewal Implementation Plan – the project team is preparing for the immense task of construction sequencing and timing. Joanne hopes to have some initial thoughts ready by April/May although contact from traders is welcome at anytime.

2. New CEO Appointment Update – a shortlist for the role of QVM CEO is expected by the end of January with interviews during February and hopefully an announcement by the end of March.

3. Proposed 2016 Trading Calendar – The changing Christmas calendar brings with it decisions on when traders will trade. In 2016 (Christmas falls on a Sunday) do we trade on the Wednesday before Christmas? The Tuesday after Christmas is a public holiday but do we trade? What about Grand Final Friday 2016 and Australia Day 2017 which falls on a Thursday?
          It was agreed that all relevant dates would be advertised in the next Trader’s Bulletin with an invitation for traders to express their views.

4. Green Cabs – this is a new concept of bicycle power taxis. QVM has given approval for the market to be placed on the Green Cabs stopover options and the market will be supporting advertising on some of the cabs.

5. Chinese New Year – The City of Melbourne have upped the involvement in Chinese New Year this year and QVM will be a key part. See our article -
Traders are asked to monitor the impact of the Chinese New Year celebrations and the effect on their businesses. This feedback will be used for future decisions on how resources are allocated to this type of event.
It was noted that QVM have asked the City of Melbourne to change to name of the event next year to Lunar New Year so as to embrace the wider Asian community.

6. Melbourne BBQ Festival  - QVM’s involvement will commence Saturday night as contestants set up their BBQ facilities prior to a Sunday cook-off. The feature event will take place at Flemington Racecourse the following weekend.

7. Trading Ideas – Marketing Workshop. QVM are keen to engage traders in a Tuesday afternoon workshop with next Tuesday’s theme being creative marketing ideas for the 2016/17 business year. See separate article.

8. Recent Power Supply Issues – this item came from a power outage in the food halls leading up to Christmas. It would seem that power source was the major problem with ongoing discussions with City Power and new sub-station design in the mix. The market is also examining the purchase of emergency power generation. The summation from management is that much work is being done to prevent a recurrence but it is difficult to give guarantees.

9. Market Security Measures – this issue related to a break in at an external cool room on Christmas Day when apparently security cameras were not working.

10. Extended Leave Letter – management have agreed to review the wording on official letters relating to traders returning after extended leave and the status of their stall holdings.

11. Directional Signage – this item was for mention with consideration currently being given to the use of static signs and the possibility of digital signage.

12. Christmas 2015 – Draft Review – Trader Representatives were asked for feedback on the impact of Christmas promotions. It was generally agreed that Christmas had presented robust trading conditions and it was felt that lead up events like the market re-branding could have been influential. The observation was made that there are many factors impacting on sales including daily weather patterns. It was suggested that at Christmas time in particular the lead page on the QVM website should focus on trading hours as a customer convenience measure.

13. Trader Assessment Criteria – The last meeting of this sub-committee was presented with a possible format which took in a wide range of factors for assessing trader performance. This is an important issue and it was agreed that we would seek additional traders to participate in the sub-committee evaluation.  See separate article.

14. Enforcement of Rules (Set-up and Pack-down) – instances of late set-up and early pack-down have drawn criticism from traders as their businesses are impacted by inconsiderate acts of a minority. It was noted that current rules expect traders to be in position for stall set-up by 8:00am and completed by 9:00am with aisles clear of storage boxes. Official closing times are known to all. Traders were seeking enforcement of these requirements by market officers with a process of communication with offenders followed by more direct action if necessary. To be reviewed at our next meeting.

15. Stall Spreading – given the changing nature of vacant stalls it was agreed that this process required a complete re-look. It was agreed that a sub-committee would be set up to examine better ways of administering stall spreading including ease of administration for traders and management staff, capacity of traders to achieve a professional looking spread, and the possibility of other forms of gap-filling to maintain a cohesive look to our market. See separate article on sub-committees.

16. Extreme Heat Policy – Trader representatives have submitted a case for additional leave for traders 65 years of age and over on days forecast to exceed 36 degrees C. Traders in that age group are considered at risk by various health and statutory organisations and representatives believe they should not be penalised when adopting good health practice. See separate article.

Other Matters – Trader Sales Feedback – it was agreed that a method of confidentially reporting sales data for a core group of traders would be of immense assistance in evaluating market performance and the impact of special promotions and events at the market.

Next Meeting – the next QVMAC meeting is scheduled for Thursday 25th February 2016.