MOAMA WILL KEEP ITS MAR­KET RE­LO­CATE PLAN RUNS AGROUND

The Riverine Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By Tyla Har­ring­ton

MOAMA’S mar­ket has been given a new lease of life as Mur­ray River Coun­cil has sur­ren­dered to the power of the lit­tle peo­ple.

The pop­u­lar Sun­day event had been given its march­ing or­ders to get out of Kerrabee Sound­shell and re­lo­cate to Moama Re­cre­ation Re­serve.

More than 100 dev­as­tated stall­hold­ers re­sponded with a text­book cam­paign of protest; slam­ming the move as short- sighted and say­ing they would not be mak­ing the switch.

In­stead, many of them threat­ened, they would pull the pin on Moama.

The shire clearly got the mes­sage and to pro­tect its valu­able tourist at­trac­tion has rolled over and as­sured the mar­ket man­age­ment and stall­hold­ers they are back in their usual busi­ness place.

At the monthly coun­cil meet­ing, act­ing gen­eral man­ager Des Bilske said 50 per cent of the 20 stall­hold­ers he had spo­ken to said they would not re­lo­cate to a new lo­ca­tion.

‘‘ They would seek al­ter­nate venues,’’ he said.

When coun­cil­lors met in Moulamein for the first time last week they agreed it should re­main where it is.

Cr Ge­off Wise said chang­ing the

To pro­tect its valu­able tourist at­trac­tion [ the shire] has rolled over and as­sured the mar­ket man­age­ment and stall­hold­ers they are back in their usual busi­ness place

lo­ca­tion could move the mar­ket from a “gold mine to a coal mine”.

The mar­ket at­tracts more than 100 stalls 28 Sun­days ev­ery year.

Heavy traf­fic flows have been an ar­gu­ment for the mar­ket mov­ing but Cr Nikki Co­hen said if it was moved to the re­serve the traf­fic would fol­low.

She said the cur­rent site al­lowed “easy ac­cess” from Echuca and Moama.

Coun­cil plan­ning, en­vi­ron­ment and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor Si­mon Arkin­stall said there had been “sig­nif­i­cant” sup­port for leav­ing it where it is but there was some un­cer­tainty about the cur­rent lo­ca­tion.

He said the site in­cluded coun­cil owned land, Crown Land and a Trav­el­ling Stock Re­serve over which a di­rect lease would not be per­mit­ted.

Crown Lands said an op­tion could in­clude coun­cil ob­tain­ing a lease of the TSR from Crown Lands and then coun­cil sub­let­ting the same for a com­mu­nity mar­ket.

But there is no guar­an­tee this would be per­mit­ted.

Per­mis­sion from the Abo­rig­i­nal Land Coun­cil was also re­quired and if that is not granted the mar­ket would have to move.

A re­port pre­sented to coun­cil said con­tin­ual use of the park had com­pacted the ground; hav­ing an im­pact on turf and tree man­age­ment.

Be­cause the park is prom­i­nent and lo­cated at the en­try to Moama, the re­port said the mar­kets had de­graded its ap­pear­ance, es­pe­cially dur­ing wet weather and drought con­di­tions, and there was no room should it ex­pand.

Mr Arkin­stall said he would speak to Crown Lands in the near fu­ture.

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