Porirua’s mar­ket wars

Li­ons find new spot


Ti­tahi Bay Li­ons and Porirua City Coun­cil seem likely to soon be locked in a head-to-head battle pro­mot­ing com­pet­ing Satur­day mar­kets.

The tra­di­tional Porirua Mar­ket is mov­ing to Wai­tan­girua Mall af­ter months of dis­cus­sion be­tween the Li­ons and the coun­cil.

Mean­while, the coun­cil is look­ing to set up its own mar­ket, even though mayor Nick Leggett said he was hope­ful the two par­ties could reach an agree­ment.

Ti­tahi Bay Li­ons has run the mar­ket since 1986. Last year, the coun­cil said it wanted to have a ‘‘re­freshed’’ mar­ket at Cob­ham Court.

The coun­cil asked the Li­ons to sub­mit an ap­pli­ca­tion to over­see the Satur­day mar­ket and then ruled the ap­pli­ca­tion did not meet its re­quire­ments.

Li­ons club pres­i­dent Chris Jones said he was sad the Cob­ham Court era was end­ing.

‘‘ We es­tab­lished it in the Cob­ham Court car park. We are vol­un­teers and all prof­its go back into the com­mu­nity,’’ Jones said.

‘‘Of course we would have pre­ferred to stay, but it is out of our hands. We hope the Porirua com­mu­nity will get be­hind us.’’

The mar­ket will be mov­ing to a car park at the rear of the Wai­tan­girua Shop­ping Mall com­plex on May 2.

‘‘ We’ve cho­sen Wai­tan­girua Mall be­cause it is pri­vately owned and the owner is work­ing with us to pro­vide a great ex­pe­ri­ence for pa­trons and stall­hold­ers.’’

Leggett said the coun­cil wanted to ex­pand the mar­ket’s re­tail­ers and what was avail­able.

‘‘ It will still have its own Porirua flavour,’’ he said.

The coun­cil is seek­ing sub­mis­sions for new op­er­a­tors of its mar­ket, though Leggett said it was still avail­able to the Li­ons club.

‘‘I hope we can reach an agree­ment. The work of those who built the mar­ket shouldn’t have to dis­ap­pear,’’ Leggett said. He called the de­ci­sion by the Li­ons to start a new mar­ket pre­ma­ture.

The coun­cil’s gen­eral manager strat­egy and plan­ning, Wendy Walker, said the coun­cil wanted the mar­ket to thrive.

‘‘The coun­cil is look­ing for a re­vi­talised mar­ket with fresh ideas,’’ she said. ‘‘Some­thing to add to the city cen­tre ex­pe­ri­ence.’’

The coun­cil in­di­cated the vi­brancy of the mar­ket had de­clined. In 2012, the coun­cil ex­tended the closing time from 10am un­til noon and, in 2013, it in­stalled power and wa­ter in Cob­ham Court at a cost of $134,000.

Li­ons club trea­surer John Lin­schoten said the club had no op­tion but to re­lo­cate.

He said the in­ten­tion was to have a mar­ket for the com­mu­nity, but what the coun­cil sug­gested was not.

The coun­cil ap­par­ently had an is­sue with the length of the mar­ket and the num­ber of stall­hold­ers, Lin­schoten said.

‘‘All the emo­tion has been felt by mem­bers, but we’ve be­come one group and are ex­cited about the re­lo­ca­tion,’’ he said.

Money col­lected from the mar­ket at Wai­tan­girua would still go back into the com­mu­nity.

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