Council’s market blunder exposed
The halting of the tender process for a market in Porirua’s CBD brings the curtain down on a process that has been nothing short of a shambles and a PR nightmare for the city council.
Titahi Bay Lions was running a perfectly adequate market, with proceeds sunk back into the community.
Porirua City Council decided the market did not meet the criteria to be part of the planned city centre upgrade, and the Lions reluctantly moved their market to Waitangirua.
It’s great news that the transplanted venture is going well, with lots of community attendance.
It’s still the social occasion it was on Saturday mornings in Cobham Court.
Meanwhile, the council put the CBD space out to tender – and got just one response.
The decision last week to put the process on hold was an embarrassing backdown.
The official line from the mayor Nick Leggett’s office is that there is already a market in Porirua that should be supported. Leggett said there could be a revisiting of a city centre market, ‘‘ depending on how the upgrade goes’’.
Paint it up any way you like – the council has egg on its face.
No- one was interested in tendering for a space that had so much uncertainty around it – the middle section of car parks is to go, cutting down the available space – and, according to the Lions, the conditions to operate in Cobham Court had become prohibitive.
The council has lost kudos in the community for its treatment of the Lions, who have been running a market in the CBD since 1986.
Celebrations for Porirua’s 50th birthday should be big in October. But there’s no guarantee.
Sure, the 50th got some recognition during Festival of the Elements and Creekfest, and a smart- looking logo and Facebook page have been fashioned. An exhibition at Pataka, We Built This City, opens this week, and will be excellent. A world record haka and big civic dinner will take place.
But more could have been done to promote the city’s 50th.
Last week we spoke to the last remaining member of the #Porirua50 Committee, Sandy Brewer, who expressed her disenchantment at the way the committee meandered on. Members came and went and the committee became toothless.
The committee was envisioned by Porirua City Council as a voice of the people – discussing, advocating, liaising, promoting and coordinating jubilee plans.
Sadly, it has fizzled. Brewer said she’s in the dark about its future, but the council is adamant it has run its course.
Communication has been sadly lacking, because Brewer is sure a functioning committee would have more to give.
Brewer’s group could not rely on members to stick it out, which is disappointing. But with no budget and no support from the council, what chance did it have?
Another community group, meanwhile, has been give the job of facilitating ideas for the week leading up the big 50th civic dinner – a massive barbecue and street clean- up has been mooted.
Though this group does not have council backing, strictly speaking, it seems to be running parallel to the 50th committee and could well replace it.
Here’s hoping it gets the support when it counts.