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.