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Redevelopment of the Queen Victoria Market (QVM) Site

"The proposed redevelopment (or "renewal" to use the Lord Mayor's term) of the Queen Victoria Market will cost $250 million. Does this signify the start of a new battle for inner Melbourne or has the populace been sweet talked by the Lord Mayor into accepting the demise of the QVM as we know it - and love it? And what are the traffic and transport implications for the CBD and inner Melbourne of this redevelopment?" (Submission from the Friends of Queen Victoria Market)

Future Melbourne Committee meeting 5:30 pm Tuesday 14 July
Item 6.5 Queen Victoria Market Precinct Renewal Master Plan (pdf)

Submission from the Friends of Queen Victoria Market

I represent Friends of Queen Victoria Market, an active Facebook group with over 1300 ‘likes’.

In particular I want to speak on behalf of people like myself, the ‘customers’ who shop at the market every week.
• We spend hundreds of dollars at the market every week, and we do almost all our shopping there.
• Fresh produce vendors estimate we regular customers are responsible for 80% of their sales.
• We have ongoing relationships with traders and with other regular customers.
• The market is a significant element in our life and we are an important part of the market community – arguably THE most important part of the market community …

…. yet our voice has been lost in the consultation process.

We have been subsumed into a category of ‘visitors’ but we have quite different interests to the tourists and other occasional market shoppers.

Many of us made the points I make here were also made very vigorously in the consultation process but somehow our input has not made it into the final reports and feedback.

So I welcome this opportunity to represent our views.

Some of us have shopped at the market for decades and many are second or even third generation market customers.

We value the market heritage but we recognize that this extends beyond built heritage to an appreciation of the market as a trading and social space based on its functioning as a community space for small scale trading for over 150 years.

If the bulk of the present market area is remade as public space for events, pop up markets, curated ‘craft’ (just like so many other markets) and so on, the market will lose what is distinctive in its heritage, even if the buildings remain.

Our first requirement is that the market remains an everyday shopping place:

• We do not support plans to reduce fresh produce trading at the market to fewer, fixed stalls, as this will decrease quantity, range and variety of fresh produce.
• We do not see any benefit for customers in updating plant, storage, or trader parking.
• Increasing onsite cool rooms will kill the whole point of market fresh produce, as will extending the opening hours.
• Some members have suggested that changing the market from an everyday shopping experience to a tourist destination is a way of justifying reduced parking provision.

Our second interest is in accessible car parking:
• We travel in from surrounding suburbs because we appreciate the kind of sustainable, value for money and varied shopping currently available at the market but this is only viable if the market provides accessible parking.
• Better pedestrian and bicycle access is not helpful to many of us who buy 20 or 30 kilos of food each week.
• Others of us bring small children or elderly and disabled relatives.
• We support market traders who have told you that any decrease in the total number of parking places available (currently 1200 including on street parking) would be a disaster for them and us.

Finally we are alarmed at the lack of specificity in this Plan and that it is left to the Implementation Strategy which is scheduled for completion in 2016 to address a number of these matters.

This has left market traders and customers in a state of uncertainty in terms of their future plans.

Especially as the market seems to be being currently being run down, which some members believe is being done in order to support the case for renewal:
• There are many, many empty stalls.
• Unlike supermarkets or many other fresh produce markets in Melbourne, parking is extremely expensive.
• Recent vacancies in the iconic Dairy hall have been filled by franchises, not small independent traders.
• New initiatives that are supposed to revitalise the market like the Cooking School and Melbourne Music Week have not been well supported, according to some sources.

The market community, rightly or wrongly, has interpreted this running down of the traditional market as indications of a deliberate tactic to justify the repurposing of the sheds.

There is a widespread perception in the community that the main and indeed the only beneficiaries of the redevelopment plans are the developers who will access land within the Queen Victoria Market Precinct and benefit from the new planning rules.

Signed: Miriam Faine, Friends of Queen Victoria Market

Comments

Julianne Bell raised the following questions on 14 July to the Mayor at the City of Melbourne Council meeting in Public Question Time. The Lord Mayor said that they were "in the plans" but Ms Bell cannt see any detailed plans in the QVM draft Master Plan for car parking and no reference to access to public transport nor operation and future location of the bus terminal. Please comment if you have further information.

Questions:

1 Given there are an estimated 10 million visitors/shoppers/tourists come to the Queen Victoria Market each year from the CDB, inner and middle suburbs and that many park in the 700 carspaces now provided or on 1500 on street car spaces, can the City of Melbourne now detail parking arrangements under the new development proposals for the Queen Victoria Market?

2 Given that there are 7 bus routes to and from the Queen Victoria market with 606 buses operating continuously daily with the bus terminus located on the street in the carparking zone on Franklin Street near the intersection of William Street and given the new development wipes out the Franklin Street carparks and the bus terminal, where and how will these extensive bus services operate once development plans are in place?

Julianne Bell

Secretary

Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc.

PO Box 197

Parkville 3052

Mobile 0408022048