Community rallies to save market
In less than a week more than 2500 people have signed petitions calling on Marrickville Council to reverse its decision to shut down Newtown Markets.
Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore said, “I spent Saturday at the Newtown markets, talking to local residents and visitors who had come to show their support.
“People are very, very angry at what they see as an attempt to gentrify Newtown and attack its creative and activist spirit. People were also very angry at what they see as a mean-spirited decision to cut funding to the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre.
“Markets add to the vibrancy of Newtown and provide an opportunity for small and emerging businesses. They represent a place for our community to connect, amongst an expanding number of chain stores and frozen yoghurt shops,” she said.
The Liberals, Conservative Mayor and a minority of Labor Councillors moved to shut down the markets last week, in a decision which will be reconsidered on appeal by the full Council. No stall holders were fined on Saturday, and the markets will be able to continue until the appeal is considered.
Clr Ellsmore said, “The Greens are strong supporters of the Newtown Markets, and want to see expanding food and creative markets in our local area. During the last term of Council the Greens moved to introduce night noodle markets but were opposed by Conservative and Labor Councils on the basis that markets compete with local business.
“The claims that the markets detract from Newtown or are opposed by local business are a total beat up. Local businesses are rallying behind the Newtown markets. The Newtown Business Precinct Association held a stall at the markets on Saturday, and several local businesses have contacted Marrickville Council to express anger at the decision.
“The Liberals are clearly out of touch not only with local residents but with the local businesses of Newtown.
“To date only one business has come forward opposing the markets – the Hub. While I hope that the iconic Hub Theatre building can reopen in the future, at this point it has no approval to operate and has not applied to Council for approval.
“A cooperative plan to allow the markets and the Hub to both operate is something that can be accommodated when we know what the Hub’s plans are.
Clr Ellsmore said, “The fact that the markets are a not for profit enterprise makes the decision even more misguided. I hope this decision does not threaten the strong partnership Council has historically had with the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre.”
Media comment: Clr Sylvie Ellsmore (Wali- North Ward) 0403 977 213
More information is available in Council reports and meeting minutes:
- 13 August 2013 DA Newtown Markets including staff report recommending approval with extensive conditions
- 13 August 2013 Markets Hub Fire Safety Report – a copy of the fire report about the Hub, and the recommendation from staff indicating that there was no issue with the markets operating as long as suitable conditions are imposed
- 13 July 2013 Econ Report Newtown Markets – The report from Council’s Economic Development Unit about the positive impact of the markets on local business
- June 2013 Council votes to waive the “pitch charge” for the Newtown Markets
- 12 May 2013 May Council Meeting Minutes Markets – At its May meeting the Council adopted two Greens Notices of Motion about the Newtown Markets. The motions were supported by Liberal Councillor Mark Gardiner.
Copies of media comment by the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre can be found here: http://www.newtowncentre.org/_pdfs/save_newtown_markets.pdf
Copies of the public statement in support of the markets made by the Newtown Business Precinct Association can be found here: http://www.newtownprecinct.com.au/article/we-love-newtown-markets