Market Shift to revitalise Tourism

The operation of Townsville's Cotters Markets will be open to tender. IMAGE: M Lim

Rotary could lose its stronghold on Townsville’s market scene following a recommendation from Townsville City Council today to open the operation of Cotters Markets to tender.

The recommendation comes after an extensive review of markets in the city found the current offerings left room to boost the attraction and experience of Townsville’s bigger flagship markets.

Mayor Cr Jenny Hill is urging Rotary and other interested market operators to incorporate new ideas for Cotters Market into their tender proposals.

“The community consultation has provided valuable feedback that we can use to great advantage in the tendering process to encourage fresh and innovative ideas for Cotters,” said Cr Hill.

“Council’s main focus will be building up our major flagship markets, to generate a stronger appeal for stallholders to get involved, and greater economic activity for the city.”

Governance and Finance Committee chair Cr Verena Coombe said the broad range of responses to the survey reinforced how important and popular markets are in Townsville.

“The feedback received is an important way to understand what works and doesn’t work in a market,” said Cr Coombe.

“Markets are an important part of the local economy, providing opportunities for home businesses and start-ups to access their customers.”

It’s a sentiment that is echoed by Karissa Chase, founder of the popular Renegade Handmade Markets, which operate monthly at Marian School.

“The more opportunities that people get to shop locally and get out of the big box stores, the better,” said Ms Chase.

In recent years the popularity of markets like Renegade Handmade and Label Traders have created new opportunities for locals to purchase directly from the maker; while also providing visitors to Townsville with a destination to pick up one-of-a-kind souvenirs made in North Queensland.

“We do have a lot of people come through the door [at Renegade Giftshop, in the Warrina Complex] and ask ‘What’s made here in Townsville beause I want to take something home’,” Ms Chase said.

Council’s market review found locally made products were one of the most desired items people wanted from a market.

Other findings:

  • Cotters Markets and Strand Night Markets most regularly attended
  • 60% of respondents don’t think Townsville has too many markets
  • 51% don’t think Townsville needs more markets
  • Most popular products people would like to see at the markets: fresh fruit and vegetables, crafts and art, snacks,, hot food, plants and baked goods
  • Least desired items at markets: labelled and commercial goods
  • Entertainment including live performances seen as important in decided to attend a market
  • A range of goods was most important factor for people attending Cotters Markets, followed by shade and then parking
  • 24% of respondents attend Cotters Market 1 to 3 times a year, 23% once a month, and 16% attend every week
  • 69% of people who attended Cotters Markets said they also visited CBD shops
  • Ideas put forward to improve Cotters Markets included greater variety of stalls, including the sale of local produce and handmade products, better entertainment, parking, and better management.

Council will now prepare the tendering process for the operation of Cotters Markets, along with the cruise ship markets in the CBD.

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