Market may go to Lorne St
A SOLUTION may be in sight for the Aotea Markets.
Stallholders are negotiating a trial period in upper Lorne St when they are forced to leave Aotea Square this Christmas.
The popular markets, which have been running for eight years, will be forced out during the $25 million redevelopment of the square.
There is no certainty they will be able to return after work is finished in two years time.
The council voted on Thursday to investigate the Lorne St site for a relocated market.
Stallholder Jo Goffe-Robertson says she is happy to take on responsibility for coordinating the move.
She is “cautiously optimistic” that Lorne St will provide an answer to their problems.
“We can do it stand-alone,” she says.
“The back of the St James looks dull and dreary, we would bring some life to the street.”
She says the markets have become so popular over the years she even has a Chilean pilot who comes to her stall every time he’s in town.
“We provide extra colour and diversity.
“All the big cities have this sort of centre.”
Stall owner Jennifer Dent says most of the 80 stallholders are self-employed and rely on their sales as a main source of income.
She says it would be devastating to lose the markets completely.
“It’s like losing our jobs.”
She says it hurts to think that some council members see them as “dropouts”.
“It actually takes a lot of guts and determination to do this.”
Councillor Graeme Easte says he doesn’t think the markets would be too disruptive to the street that fronts the Central City Library.
He says he hopes the council officers will take a practical, can-do approach to their investigation.
“There are some issues to be worked through but I don’t belive they’re insurmountable.”
Mr Easte says the markets are good for the vitality and life of the city.
Auckland City Council and The Edge, who help run the markets, looked at more than 20 sites around the inner city earlier this year but found nothing suitable.
Councillor Greg Moyle says Upper Lorne St is a very quiet road and “on the face of it”, doesn’t have any problem with the idea.
“I don’t want to put a road block in their way and make it harder than it needs to be.”
The council’s transport committee will hear back from officers and discuss the new site at its meeting next month.
A breakaway group of stall holders has set up the City Designers Market, which will be open every Thursday and Saturday from 9am to 2pm.
The market opens this Saturday at the Ellen Melville Hall conference room, Freyberg Place, off High St.