Jobs axed at farmers' market

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 08:55 23/05/2014

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The Marlborough Farmers' Market manager has been made redundant after the market failed to meet its budget.

Marlborough Farmers' Market chairman Neville White said the committee had set a "very aggressive" growth strategy at the start of the year.

Site fees at the A&P Showgrounds at Maxwell Rd were raised, increasing the revenue made from stallholders. At April 30, the market reported a "modest profit", White said.

As a result of the increased fees, the market budgeted for increased income and salary expenses.

Despite the profit, the market fell "quite a long way" short of meeting the budget, he said.

In March, the committee decided to lower salary costs to meet income levels. It cut the paid position of market manager until the end of the year. Volunteers have taken over the duties, White said.

The job of marketing manager was also disestablished after the woman in the position resigned in April.

The market created the two positions last year to help boost performance and attract more stallholders and consumers.

The committee would look at the structure of the market next year and would decide then on whether or not to reinstate the positions, White said.

This year the market will stay at the A&P Showgrounds over winter, taking shelter under the sheep pavilion. Heavy rain and wind battered the market last winter at its place at Liz Davidson Park on the corner of Charles and Queen streets.

Some of the guttering and drains at the pavilion had been fixed, and additional iron had been installed to reduce the effect of wind, White said. The pavilion's floor has been resurfaced and lights will be added. The market would be held in the pavilion when the grass was too soft to drive on.

Between 10 and 15 stalls would be at the market offering a range of winter produce, including eggs, meats, preserves, fruit and seedling plants. Opening hours would be from 9am to noon, but a later start would be considered as the weather got colder, White said.

"Our plan is to dispense with the theme of a winter market and focus more on a year-round market with local seasonal produce," he said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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