The Lennox Community Markets in 2017.
The Lennox Community Markets in 2017.

Council’s market decision set to come back to haunt them

BALLINA Shire Council has decided to keep the Lennox Markets on at Williams Reserve.

Councillors carried the motion to keep the market in the reserve and to proceed with an expression of interest (EOI) process for the management of the Lennox Head Community Market.

While all councillors agreed that the original Lake Ainsworth location was not suitable due to environmental considerations, keeping the market at the reserve also had some opposition.

Councillor Ben Smith said the plan to keep the markets at the reserve was not a good idea in the long term.

"It will be a debate that some other council will have at some point again the future," he said.

"If people are happy to keep going around in circles, I guess that's your prerogative."

Also for the idea of looking for a long term, more suitable location for the markets was Councillor Sharon Cadwallader said keeping the markets at the reserve was "a waste of resources".

"It clearly doesn't work," she said.

"The question that needs to be asked is - if the market was so successful on Williams Reserve, then why did the market manager take the decision not to continue on with his lease?

"I think council is wasting its resources pursuing something that doesn't work, when we can get a far better outcome, and there is no urgency on having to have this done."

"I know that the Sporting Association has enjoyed not having the markets there at present."

Cr Jeff Johnson rejected Cr Cadwallader's idea that the markets were a failure at the reserve.

"Stall holders are still willing to pay a fee to have their stalls there, and there were 60 to 80 of them wiling to do that every month, so it's obviously not a failure," he said.

"Lennox is becoming more and more popular (...) having that market in the middle of town, about 100m from the CBD, next to the community centre, next to an oval, a skate park, with the carparking behind the community centre, seems like it ticks a few boxes to me."

After a market manager is appointed, the council would then have to prepare a development application (in consultation with the new market manager) for lodgement and determination.

Under this option, the market may occur initially at a smaller scale under the exempt and complying development provisions, while development consent is being obtained for the full-scale market.