Future of Hutt market unclear
Lower Hutt’s popular Riverbank Market will continue on its current site for now but its long-term future remains unclear.
The market has been on the Hutt City Council car park site, next to the Hutt River, for 15 years and attracts 10,000 people on a Saturday.
Plans to upgrade the stopbank and redesign the central city are likely to significantly reduce the size of the car park.
The contract with the operator expires at the end of August and the council last month called for expressions of interest.
Development manager Gary Craig said the council had looked for an alternative site but there was nothing large enough in the city.
The current site was ideal as it was close to State Highway 2 and had 601 parking spaces.
‘‘Our intention is to keep the market in the central business district. It is easy for people to get to and there is a lot of parking around the city.’’
He understands the operator, Shunila Hamilton, is keen to continue and he is expecting others to also be interested.
The contract will acknowledge the site is part of RiverLink, a plan to protect the city from flooding and build a promenade, so the
❚ The Riverbank Market attracts 10,000 attendees and is the city’s largest regular event.
❚ It costs the council $1000 for the weekly traffic management.
❚ Councillors introduced a $2 parking fee at the market in July 2018, to recover the annual loss of $213,000.
❚ A survey in February 2018 found that 90 per cent of market-goers visited each week as part of their regular food shopping.
market could be forced to shift. One of the options for RiverLink is a pedestrian bridge over the Hutt River. That could connect to the market, letting people park on the other side of the river.
In December 2018, the council said it had identified four possible alternative locations including Daly St and Andrews Ave, Myrtle St and Stevens Grove, south of the Ewen Bridge at Strand Park, or on the yet-to-be-developed promenade and new riverbank car park area. All would require the market to be scaled down.
Plastic bags is one issue the new operator will have to address. Craig said the council supports the new law banning single-use plastic bags and the operator had made it clear to stallholders they could face a $100,000 fine.