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Sunday market remains under current management

August 10th, 2011
[by David Armstrong]

Motueka's Sunday market is likely to continue under the management and ownership of Judy Roper for at least another three years, with a right to renew, after the Community Board turned down a suggestion by Our Town Motueka to open to other groups the licence to operate.

At the open forum section of yesterday's board meeting, Our Town Motueka chairman Howie Timms asked the board to open the operation of the market for expressions of interest. If this occurred, he said Our Town Motueka (OTM) would respond by saying it would like to run the market as a business and employ a manager.

OTM is a business promotion and advocacy group representing Motueka businesses including High Street retailers. The Sunday market's licence to operate expired at the end of June and Judy's previous five-year licence has been rolled over by the council on a month-to-month basis. (See our earlier story on this issue).

Howie said if OTM were to be granted the licence it would help encourage more business and visitors to the whole retail area and support retailers' activities. "The market would be a good fit with Our Town Motueka's long-term goals for the town," he said. "We would use profits to improve the market."

Jack Inglis said regardless of who ran it, the market needed more and better advertising, but Judy replied that she was marketing heavily across a range of the best tourism publications. She said she had also already paid for annual advertising contracts for the coming year.

Later during the board meeting proper, a decision was to be made as to whether to continue with the status quo or look to other operators. Given that Judy had already committed funds for the next year, one suggestion was to roll over the licence for one or two years while other expressions of interest were evaluated.

Cliff Satherley said he was worried that any such decision would in effect be putting a private operator out of business, as Judy had started the market decades ago with her late husband and still owned it. Barry Dowler said he would "be gutted" if Judy was put on anything under a two years of lease.

In the end, it was decided that the board's recommendation to TDC was for Judy be given licence to operate for three more years with the right of renewal for a further three years after that, effectively meaning she has six years ahead if she wishes.

The recommendation will be considered by a council committee through Jim Frater. The committee may choose to make the lease period shorter or remove the right of renewal, but is unlikely to otherwise change the recommendation.


Comment by William Cleaver:
[Posted 12 August 2011]

I am disappointed at the community board's decision to not allow expressions of interest be it OTM or any other group go through on the market. One could say it's the 'if it ain't broke' scenerio but there are ideals on the meaning 'if it ain't broke let's improve on it'.

I look at the market as, if you are not going forward you are sitting still or going backwards. I feel that the oportunity to inject funds back into the community has now been lost for the next 5 years under the current regiem. Don't get me wrong, the current manager has done a good job for the past 20 years but the opportunity for change has now been lost.

Comment by Jo Donaldson:
[Posted 22 August 2011]

I have never been a person to advocate change for change sake. The current market management is due all credit and gratitude for starting the market and for keeping it going over the years. All of Motueka and the surrounding towns applaud you for your vision.

I agree with the above poster and am disappointed by the decision of the board to not allow other expressions of interest from other individuals or groups to manage the market. I agree that an opportunity to capitalize on the incredible potential of the market has been lost. I hope that there is a way that this decision can be reversed - or at minimum, revisited.

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