'Really uncomfortable': Debate over popular event hurting businesses
THE question of whether closing Goondoon St to host the Gladstone City Farmer's markets was worth the money it costs to hire traffic controllers was raised at yesterday's council meeting.
Rules put in place by Gladstone Regional Council means a market of its size requires a standard safety requirement of traffic controllers costing $15,000.
Deputy Mayor Chris Trevor was stumped over the council's own regulations.
He suggested they move the markets to the underground parking at the Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre and avoid closing the street.
But Cr Trevor also questioned the entire need for the markets, and said projects of their type made him feel "really uncomfortable".
He said he couldn't shake the feeling the Gladstone City Farmer's markets were taking away from local businesses.
"What if, by allowing stallholders to operate from the city, we are taking away from our local businesses who also sell fresh produce but cannot for some reason have a stall?" he questioned.
"By building this project up we could be tearing down other businesses, the brick and mortar of our town, by allowing out-of-town stallholders to sell here."
But Cr Kahn Goodluck argued against this and said the markets did the opposite, and encouraged people on Goondoon St attending the markets, to drop into businesses.
He also said holding them in an underground car park would defeat the purpose.
"The whole point of the City Farmer's Markets is that they are held in the city - not in some dark, gloomy car park," Cr Goodluck said.
"I think they are a great idea and for just $15,000 annually, we are bringing in an extra 2500 people a month to the CBD."
He said the point of the markets was to bring people "out in the open".
Last month the council announced they would no longer manage the event.
They put out expressions of interest for someone to take the markets over.
At yesterday's committee meeting the council chose Kelli Jackson, owner of Gladstone business KType Creative to manage the event.
The decision has to be ratified at next week's general meeting.