To mar­ket no more

Auckland City Harbour News - - Front Page - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein and Janie Smith

THE LOSS of one of Auck­land’s most pop­u­lar bar­gain­hunt­ing spots has left peo­ple shocked and dis­mayed.

Auck­land City Coun­cil an­nounced last week the Aotea Square Mar­kets will close at the end of this year to make way for con­struc­tion in the square.

The $80 mil­lion re­de­vel­op­ment will in­volve re­pairs to the Civic carpark roof, an up­grade of the square and al­ter­ations to the Aotea Cen­tre en­trance.

Work is ex­pected to start in Novem­ber and con­tinue un­til Septem­ber 2010.

The Aotea Cen­tre will re­main open but noise, dust and con­struc­tion im­pacts mean the mar­kets held ev­ery Fri­day and Satur­day have to go.

Auck­land City Coun­cil and The Edge jointly run the mar­kets.

They have looked at a num­ber of al­ter­na­tive lo­ca­tions for the mar­kets but all were deemed un­suit­able.

The Edge chief ex­ec­u­tive Greg Innes says 20 to 25 sites were con­sid­ered, in­clud­ing park­ing lots be­hind the Town Hall, the Aotea Cen­tre and the Bledis­loe Build­ing as well as My­ers Park, Lorne St and on Queen St in front of the Town Hall.

“We were re­ally keen to see if we could make it work,” he says.

But he says lo­gis­ti­cal is­sues in­clud­ing wa­ter and power sup­ply and toi­let fa­cil­i­ties meant none were suit­able.

The fu­ture of the mar­kets, even af­ter con­struc­tion fin­ishes, is un­cer­tain.

Mr Innes says the square will be an en­tirely new space and will re­quire con­sid­er­a­tion as to the best use of it.

He says he would like to think there is sup­port for the mar­kets re­turn­ing but that will be up to the coun­cil to de­cide af­ter the re­de­vel­op­ment.

He will be sad to see the mar­kets go, he says.

“They’ve be­come quite a CBD at­trac­tion.

“A lot of peo­ple are keen on them and we’re keen on them too.”

Jo Goffe-Robert­son, who has run a stall of re­cy­cled gems at the mar­kets for seven years, says she is “dumb struck” that no more ef­fort has been made to re­lo­cate the mar­kets.

She says stall­hold­ers were told they would be re­lo­cated but the coun­cil have given up on find­ing some­where.

“I think it’s out­ra­geous. Peo­ple want a mar­ket and they’re just cut­ting us loose.”

She says the sell­ers would even be will­ing to pay to find a new space.

“They owe it to us and the peo­ple of Auck­land.”

But she won’t let the change of cir­cum­stance get her down and in­tends to move her stall to an­other mar­ket else­where.

“I’ll adapt, I’m re­source­ful.”

Jess Quinn has been visit­ing the mar­kets at least once a month for five years and says she will be very sad to see them go. “It’s a real shame.” Miss Quinn says the mar­kets are the only place she can find cloth­ing from up and com­ing de­sign­ers for such rea­son­able prices.

Peo­ple can give feed­back on the draft de­sign for Aotea Square dur­ing con­sul­ta­tion planned for mid-2008.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Kicked out: Jo Goffe-Robert­son will have to find an­other spot to sell her wares af­ter seven years at the Aotea Square mar­kets.

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