Numbers swell at relocated market
The popularity of the relocated Titahi Bay Lions market continues to grow.
After failing to reach an agreement with Porirua City Council, about continuing in the Cobham Court car park, the Lions moved their market to the back of Waitangirua Mall on May 2.
Lions president Chris Jones said there was natural anxiety about the move, regarding public attendance and stallholders’ participation, but such fears had quickly dissipated.
‘‘It’s been so much better than we expected,’’ he said. ‘‘We were hoping for close to 40 stalls and we have 55, with everything from food to secondhand goods.
‘‘It’s definitely become more than a market – it’s a meeting place, and as long as it’s doing well and people are happy, we’ll stay right where we are.’’
Jones said the swelling popularity – which included people coming from Wellington and the Hutt Valley – meant more money was being collected that would be sunk back into the community.
On one recent Saturday, the Lions took in $1800, much more than was ever taken in a day at Cobham Court.
It showed that, if managed well, a market could succeed anywhere, Jones said.
‘‘This is a community-based market and what it shows is that the community is backing us.’’
Getting power properly linked to the market was still a work in progress, he said, but having a room in the building for a toilet and first aid area was among improvements that were being made. Volunteers had cleared rubbish from the room and made three trips to the landfill.
As long as the council was planning a major revamp of the city centre, there would be no place for the Lions market, Jones said.
Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said the city council was focusing on an improved experience in the city centre. Whether that involved another market remained to be seen.
He said he was happy the Lions market had found a good home and wanted the public to continue to help it thrive.
He conceded the council could have done things better in its dealings with the Lions, but the point was the city still had a market.
‘‘We want it to succeed, wherever it operates. We can’t change the things we can’t change and this has been a good example of the community driving something,’’ he said.
The thriving Saturday market at Waitangirua.