Market stalls may get city heart beating again

MORE MARKETS: Markets have been sporadic in Cathedral Square since the earthquakes.
MORE MARKETS: Markets have been sporadic in Cathedral Square since the earthquakes.

Market stalls may soon grace quake-battered Cathedral Square again.

The Christchurch City Council wants people interested in operating a market in the square or running food trucks or stalls there on Friday nights to submit proposals.

Cr Jamie Gough said Cathedral Square was historically the city's beating heart, but the quakes had left it in ruins and abandoned.

"It really needs to be re-activated," said Gough, who is the council strategy and planning committee chairman.

A well-run market would draw people back to the area and help provide a link between Re:Start Mall and New Regent St.

"We've got two great shopping areas in the central city but, unfortunately, the bridge between the two is broken. It definitely needs to be fixed, so a transitional project in that space makes perfect sense."

Gough said a market in the square would give Christchurch's post-quake entrepreneurs an inexpensive opportunity to promote and sell their products.

It would complement the retail activity in the central city.

Council urban design and regeneration unit manager Carolyn Ingles said the Re:Start Mall market stalls would have to vacate when the trams started running through Cashel St again.

Cr Paul Lonsdale agreed the city centre needed attractions to create a link between Re:Start Mall and New Regent St, but said it would take at least 15 operators to make it work.

Food trucks or stalls would be a great way to encourage people into the square, particularly as people often wandered as they ate.

Lonsdale questioned whether the square offered enough activity to make it financially viable for market operators.

"The market operators are savvy enough. They will just stop patronising it if they are not getting an income out of it," he said.

Ingles said the council wanted to trial food vendors in the square, based on the success of those that operated in Sydney and Adelaide, to see if it could work in Christchurch.

Submissions close on September 3.

The Press