Much has been made of the survey conducted to establish trader storage needs. The results of the survey have guided aspects of the latest renewal proposal which will be put to Council on Tuesday. But it was what the survey didn’t ask that is now causing concern.
Traders were effectively asked what their storage needs were. They were asked to list their box storage, dry goods and refrigerated needs and predict future needs. That is fine but they were not asked about their vehicle storage needs. (Note: We understand there was an option for “Other” storage but few traders would have associated that with vehicle storage. Perhaps it could have been made clearer.) Vehicle storage may mean simply parking a vehicle after it has been used to replenish stock held at an outside location (often home). Or some traders may use a vehicle as a store of goods during the trading day either on the stall or nearby.
For many traders none of this will be an issue. Traders in fixed locations or with regular delivery arrangements may not have a legitimate need for a stock vehicle. But if a trader legitimately uses a vehicle to regularly deliver stock (perhaps to simply replace the previous day’s sales) then there is a vehicle storage issue.
According to some attendees at Thursday’s meeting presentation it was suggested that the market would becomes a vehicle free zone - trader’s vehicles would be parked elsewhere, away from the market. It should be noted that while we understand the long term aim of QVM will be to remove vehicles from trading areas, this not a short term or even medium term priority. Clearly there will be time for QVM to work through issues and find workable solutions for traders.
And getting back to storage of the actual vehicle - parking in Melbourne is a very expensive exercise. Traders currently use free parking at the back of the open sheds, discounted voucher parking in the main car park, and some low cost street or multi-level car parking at discounted prices on the weekend. Even $10 or $15 per day parking becomes a significant cost impost over a week.
The public is encouraged to use public transport for their shopping needs but traders generally don’t have that option. Many traders with small trading areas and set up/pack up arrangements require regular daily top-ups and easy access. A vehicle is an essential delivery tool for many traders and those vehicles require easy access parking.
There will be more to consider on this matter as we move forward.