Struggling Leederville Growers Market gets helping hand from City of Vincent

Stock image.
Stock image.

THE struggling three-month-old Leederville Growers Market has been given another chance by City of Vincent.

Council this week agreed to waive the license fee for three months and relocate it to the Oxford Street road reserve after a request from market operator pSquared for a two-month waiver to help boost stallholder numbers and foot traffic.

The second incarnation of the Leederville fresh produce Sunday market kicked off in November last year after the City advertised an expression of interest to get it up and running again.

The former Leederville Farmers Markets closed in 2015 after 18 months of operation because of a disagreement between the City and former operators that could not be resolved.

Stephanie Patniotis, from pSquared, said the market would have to shut down without the fee waiver.

“Attendance has been low, and it can only improve by waiving the fees which would reduce stall fees and increase the number of stalls and increase sustainability for the traders,” she said.

pSquared raised concerns in an email with the City four weeks after the markets began, and asked for a six month waiver.

It recorded a drop in foot traffic, with as low as 12 people attending the December 4, 2016 market, which was during Light Up Leederville.

The City observed only one fresh food stall, which it found undermined the perception of the market being a growers market.

Councillors acknowledged pSquared’s efforts to get the market going again, and councillors Dan Loden and Emma Cole suggested a longer waiver of six months would have been more beneficial.

Cr Matt Buckels said the fee was too expensive.

“In hindsight, the $17,000 fee is the noose around the neck of the markets, no wonder it is struggling,” he said.

However, acting mayor Roslyn Harley said Leederville might not need a growers market.

“I acknowledge the hard work put into the market and they gave it a red hot go, but maybe Leederville doesn’t need this market,” she said.

“Leederville feels different (to other areas with markets), it has a different demographic, people are walking through from the train station or the football or cycling, they are not going out to buy fresh produce on Sunday morning.”