Regret over market move

Timaru's Farmers Market is making a move under a cloud of debate.

The weekly market will shift from Caroline Bay to the Community House car park in Strathallan St and switch from Sunday to Saturday on March 30.

Run under the umbrella of Transition Timaru, it was established in 2009 and is governed by a not-for-profit committee.

The market was originally established as a community focal point for ideas, dialogue and activities supporting sustainable living.

The committee voted unanimously to move the venue and day after discussion over the pros and cons of both venues, but not everyone is pleased.

In a letter to members, several reasons were cited for the shift, including a decline in customer numbers.

It stated: "The current number would most likely lead the market to close in winter as it is running at a loss while a new venue has been identified as more suitable to foot traffic in central Timaru on a Saturday, handy to ATM machines and bus stops.

"Shopping is a chore, so people tend to do it throughout the week or on a Saturday, plus if they are in town they don't have to go out of their way any more.

"We would actually be saving them a trip to the supermarket. Sunday is a church and family day for most people."

The new venue will potentially include 17 car parks at the neighbouring law offices of Raymond Sullivan McGlashan.

Transition Timaru co-ordinator Steve Earnshaw said there had been much debate about the new time and venue.

"As always there are pros and cons to any significant change and I do understand that some stallholders and customers will be disadvantaged by the proposed move; on balance I am confident that it will be a positive change."

Some stallholders are not happy.

One, who did not want to be named, said many were "saddened" by the decision.

"The feedback is that everybody is not happy. We just think everything takes time and we are trying to build a multi-faceted venue.

"It was a decision by the committee and I'm just really sad. Time will tell and maybe I will be proved wrong."

The Timaru Herald