Published by Shepparton News on 30 November, 2013.
Shepparton South Rotary Club members made a last-minute appeal at a meeting on Wednesday night to save the Queen’s Gardens Market, calling on locals to continue to support its stallholders.
The club previously announced tomorrow’s market would be the last one of its 16-year history.
Market co-ordinator David Earle said strong competition from new markets had emerged during the past few years, including the Mooroopna Farmers’ and Craft Market that took place on the same day.
The Rotary club even changed the Queen’s Gardens market from the third to the first Sunday of each month about two years ago in an attempt to retain customers.
‘‘There’s a market somewhere just about every weekend,’’ he said.
‘‘Stalls have dropped from about 100 sites to 40 sites.
‘‘It gets to the point where 60 Rotary man hours per market is just not worthwhile.’’
Mr Earle said the club had attempted to negotiate a lower hire fee with Greater Shepparton City Council for Queen’s Garden’s, but had been unsuccessful.
‘‘We pay $2800 per year for the use of Queen’s Gardens for our 12 monthly markets,’’ he said.
‘‘That was the nail in the coffin.’’
Mooroopna market chairman Mike Tate said some of the permanent Queen’s Garden stallholders were expected to move permanently to the Mooroopna event.
‘‘I think we’ve got about eight (stallholders) that want permanent sites here and I know they come from Shepparton because they told me,’’ he said.
‘‘We don’t want them to close, but probably, like lot of things, they’ve been round for a long time and people get tired and want change.
‘‘In 20 years’ time, the same thing will probably happen to us.’’
Mr Earle was disappointed the council was not doing more to help the market, which he said was an important fundraising event for the Rotary club.
‘‘We raise about $30000 for the community every year, and the market is a major project of ours.’’
The council could not be reached for comment before the time of publication.