Petition for stallholders to stay at different end of street
STALLHOLDERS at the Maryborough Markets are pushing for a permanent move to the Lennox St end of Ellena St after roadworks in the area have been completed.
Mark Ward, who runs a fruit and vegetable stall at the market, is circulating a petition calling on the council to allow stallholders to remain where they are currently located instead of returning to the Bazaar St end of Ellena St.
But not everyone is happy about the idea.
Business owners Gordon Dale and Neil Barber both objected to the idea of moving the stallholders permanently, with both men saying the markets played an integral part of attracting customers into the Bazaar St end of Ellena St.
Mark said there was a more market-type environment in the current location, adding that the foot traffic from Station Square was also helping the business make more money.
His father Bill said often people walking across to the markets from Station Square went straight down Adelaide St instead of continuing along Ellena St where their stall was normally located.
He estimated they were making about $150 more a week just because of the new location.
Mark said other stallholders were also enjoying the new location and had signed his petition.
"It's much better foot traffic," he said.
"We're selling a lot more a lot faster here."
But Mr Barber, who owns Maryborough Loans and Trading, said the roadworks had already cost his business tens of thousands of dollars and he was concerned about what the ongoing impact might be if the stallholders didn't return.
With the road now open again, the situation was returning to normal for his business - but that wouldn't be complete until the stallholders returned to the other end of Ellena St, he said.
"We want it back," he said of the markets.
"The pub wants it back. Every business, every ratepayer, wants it back.
"We're over it," Mr Barber said.
"We've had to put up with the roadworks. This is just another kick in the teeth to us."
Council chief executive officer Ken Diehm said every effort had been made to mitigate adverse impacts and to ensure the works in Ellena St are completed as quickly and safely as possible.
To support the businesses and people affected, Mayor Chris Loft and Maryborough councillors have contributed from their Discretionary Funds to make a raffle prize available.
Customers get a ticket when they do business and they're in the draw for the prize.
"There were a number of unforeseen matters that were encountered underground and additional items that were included within the contract including irrigation for planter boxes that extended the period of completion," he said.
"Traffic signalisation works are currently being finalised in Ellena St with these works due for completion on October 13, 2017," he said.
"The full width asphalt sealing of Ellena St should be completed by the end of next week or early the following week, subject to weather conditions.
"Any claims for compensation during council works are managed in accordance with council's insurance guidelines, noting council's rights to exercise its statutory powers to perform work and the inevitable consequences of performing its statutory duties."
Mr Dale, owner of The Organic Patch, said a promise had been made to bring the markets back to their original spot.
Mr Diehm said no decision had yet been made regarding which end of Ellena St the markets would be situated long-term.
"Until the infrastructure works are fully completed, they will remain where they are," he said.
"Any future decision will be made in consultation with Fraser Coast Tourism and Events, who oversee the markets and provide advice and feedback to council."
Mr Diehm said the council acknowledged the infrastructure works have been an inconvenience to local businesses, residents and the public, which is inevitable for major works of this type.
Response from tourism body
THE Maryborough Markets will return to the traditional Bazaar-Adelaide St section of Ellena St as soon as possible but the event organiser is hoping to expand the weekly selling hub.
Robyn Peach, events manager for Fraser Coast Tourism and Events, said a request had been made by stallholders to the council, to remain along the temporary Lennox-Adelaide St segment of Ellena St.
"We're currently exploring ways to expand the markets in the future and spreading into the Lennox-Adelaide St end of Ellena St is a strong option," she said.
"But there are road closures, business owners and other stakeholders to consider.
"Any future decisions will be made in consultation with all those affected," she said.
"In the meantime, the markets will return to the traditional site along the Bazaar-Adelaide St part of Ellena St as soon as possible."