Belmont’s Rotamart swapmeet somehow operated for 30 years without approval

Belmont Rotamart has a 12-month operating approval from the City of Belmont.
Belmont Rotamart has a 12-month operating approval from the City of Belmont.

THE Sunday morning trash and treasure swapmeet at Belmont Forum’s carpark managed to operate for a staggering 30 years without formal authority.

Retrospective approval has now been granted so the Belmont Rotamart has permission to continue the weekly market in 2019, but second-hand sellers and the Belmont Rotary Club will face more stringent operating rules.

The conditions include shopping centre security being tasked with ensuring stallholders do not arrive and attempt to set up before the designated 5.30am start time.

Community News understands the new agreement followed complaints of some stallholders arriving so early they were camping in the carpark the night before and using nearby public gardens as a toilet.

City of Belmont chief executive John Christie confirmed there were complaints about vendors camping overnight and that health, safety and amenity matters raised were unacceptable.

“The City again wrote to the Belmont Rotary Club to request that approval be obtained and an application was eventually submitted in July 2018,” he said.

Belmont Rotamart was initially approved for a three-month trial period in 1988 but has continued to operate since the trial ended. Proceeds from the $10 seller fee and gold-coin donation for shoppers assist the Rotary club with its charity projects.

Quizzed over how the swapmeet could operate for three decades without council approval, Mr Christie said numerous requests were sent to the Rotarians but the matter had simply never been addressed.

Council records show letters were sent in May 1991, May 2009 and July 2009.

As part of the retrospective approval, which was formally granted by the council last Tuesday, Belmont Rotamart will have to follow a Safety and Health Plan, which outlines rules for security, parking, toilet facilities and the sale of goods.

Belmont Forum toilets will be open from 5.30am.

The plan will be reviewed after six months and the approval to operate is only for 2019, after which organisers will need to reapply to continue.

The next Rotamart is scheduled for Sunday, January 6.