New venue approved for Farmers' Market
The Farmers' Market is to shift from its central city location to a walkway along the Maitai River.
The organisers of the Nelson food and produce market voted on Monday night to accept in principle the riverbank site opposite the Trafalgar Centre car park, proposed by the Nelson City Council.
Last week the council declined a request by the Farmers' Market Committee to move to Buxton Square, saying it was not a "long term solution".
The Farmers' Market, which sells locally grown and made produce, was served an eviction notice from Morrison Square in July by landlord the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).
Farmers' Market manager Miriam Clark said she was initially disappointed by the council decision, but the Matai River boulevard offered an attractive environment.
"We certainly have some nervousness around being outside of the heart of the CBD, but we do feel there is a lot of potential at this new site, in terms of allowing us to grow and develop."
The food market had developed a "core client base" in Morrison Square over the last eight years, Clark said.
"A large part of our client base are inner city workers who pop down in a break.
"We are very keen on holding on to that part of our base, so hopefully, for the ones at the upper end of Trafalgar St, they are prepared to walk that far."
Nelson city councillor Kate Fulton believed the new location would help secure the long-term future of the market.
"The location feels like it's a little bit on the fringes at the moment, but we think that will change, especially when the new library development happens."
"For people who work at this end of the CBD, it's closer. Hopefully people will make it part of their Wednesday in a different way," she said.
Councillor Ian Barker maintained parking in Buxton Square was already under severe pressure and to put the market there "would have had a detrimental effect."
He said developing the boulevard along the Maitai River had been "extremely expensive for ratepayers" and had been designed with market stalls in mind.
"My vision was for it to be an area like the waterfront in Wellington ... this is the first move towards the public and visitors enjoying that."
Farmers' Market committee chairman Andrew Lowe, of Lowes Orchard in Brightwater, was optimistic.
"We have had a few restrictions with where we have been, which will no longer apply, so we'll certainly be looking to expand the market, make it bigger and better."
Reni Wereta-Garguilo used to run a seafood stall at the Morrison Square venue, but stopped about a year ago, largely because of customers' parking issues.
"We had a lot of feedback that the parking wasn't good enough," said the owner of Kiwi Kai, which sells traditional Maori food.
"If it moved down to the riverbank it would be perfect; mums could come in from Richmond," without having to "haul children out of the car and walk for blocks."
The owner of Hopgoods restaurant in upper Trafalgar St, Kevin Hopgood, visits the Farmers' Market every week to buy fresh produce, and will continue to do so.
"We would have preferred Buxton Square or somewhere a bit closer, but as long as we've got the market that's the main thing."
Nelson's Farmers' Market will be held in Morrison Square on September 27 and October 4, before moving to the Maitai River walkway on October 11.