Wednesday 16 May 2018

Saved? - A Traders Rant

Do you feel saved? Today’s Age says the Queen Victoria Market has been saved by people power.  Why don’t I feel saved?

The headline follows a CoM decision to abandon a key component of renewal which is the removal (and replacement) of market sheds to construct underground facilities. I can see that four open air sheds have possibly been saved from some misadventure during replacement.

But if I can play around with words for a minute this has been more about "wasting" than saving. Wasted time, wasted effort, wasted finances, and the list goes on. Now we are going to go through 6 months of reassessment and a new proposal that will ask CoM management “to work with Heritage Victoria, traders, customers and other key stakeholders.” Mercifully, 6 months is a short time.

The other word that comes to mind rather than saving is “stopping”. There has been a lot of “stopping”. Stopping is quite easy to achieve. You just stand in the way of things and block wherever you can. Stopping is a hell of a lot easier than progress. Stopping does protect you from scary new things but it also means that things don’t change, and when your business is declining, that is critical.  Stopping can be just as wrong, as runaway enthusiasm. It is very difficult to get the right balance.

Let’s make it clear - in my book “saving” means measured progress, improvement, and preparing for the future. The biggest problem facing QVM is not protecting old buildings but protecting a way of doing business in the middle of a global business revolution.

I have attempted to avoid blame in this little rant. The truth is that we are all to blame either because of complacency, self interest, or failing to communicate properly. Only considered, professional, and truly co-operative engagement will work here.

Until then you can keep “saved” in your back pocket. I have definitely not been saved. But I remain hopeful.

By Greg Smith

Have Your Say - click here.

19/05/2018 16:23:28      Saved "This presents an opportunity for a clean slate.
The against group for renewal has been guilty of stopping renewal at any cost.
The CoM has been guilty of assuming they could proceed with their plan without a serious attempt to justify their plans and communication has been well beyond poor.
If the Renewal wasn’t temporarily halted it was doomed to fail with both groups fighting each other.
Although frustrating perhaps this will give both groups a chance to realise that the core of a renewal will be a strong plan to revitalise the retail environment at QVM - the buildings are at the end of the day, just buildings.
It is surely a last chance scenario now so let’s hope we can genuinely work together to get it right this time"     
Thank you - well said. - Ed