HASTINGS Rotary Club has stepped in to save the weekly market in High St.
Stallholders feared the market would close following the collapse of Western Port Lions Club, which had run it for some years.
The club closed late last year due to lack of members (‘Limited Lions call it a day’, The News, 18/12/12), and the market permit issued by Mornington Peninsula Shire ran out on Tuesday 9 January.
Signatures were quickly being added to a “save the market” petition when the Rotary club offered to take over its management.
“There were all sorts of rumours and conspiracy theories circulating in High St and at the market before Christmas,” assistant governor for the peninsula Rotary clubs Dick Cox said.
“People were queuing up to sign the petition.
“After many conversations with Hastings chamber of commerce president Lisa Dixon, the shire’s business development department’s Kerrie Johnston and Cr David Garnock, plus many more, I found out the true situation – a new local operator was required.”
Mr Cox said he contacted Hastings Western Port Rotary Club “which stepped straight up to the plate”.
“The shire was advised and a decision was made to grant a three-month interim permit to give continuity and certainty to the market stallholders over the holiday period,” Mr Cox said.
“Meetings have been held and paperwork will be finalised before the first market under the new interim permit on 17 January.”
Mr Cox said a new committee would include Rotary, shire officers and Cr Garnock, the chamber of commerce and the market.
“They will be looking at updating the permit and stallholder licences, size of stalls and positioning in the street, and finding out what locals want of their market,” he said.
“There will be minimal changes to conditions during this period
“One of the main concerns has been safety, such as allowing plenty of clearance on the pavement for prams and wheelchairs, and not blocking sight lines between cars and pedestrians at High St intersections.
“Rotary will have an easily identified representative on the street at every market who will be pleased to hear of any ideas and complaints.
“We are looking to have a vibrant market with lots of regular, professional-looking stalls that will bring an increased number of people to High St.
“This has to be good for all.
“Anyone who would like to be a Friend of Rotary and assist with the market should approach our market representative.”