To market no more
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.
Kicked out: Jo Goffe-Robertson will have to find another spot to sell her wares after seven years at the Aotea Square markets.