Council to revamp Cotters following markets review

Date published: 24 January 2017

Townsville City Council will focus on building the Cotters Markets into a major regional attraction for locals and tourists after an extensive review of markets in the city.

The Townsville Markets Project Investigation and Consultation Report, which included  1241 responses from residents and stakeholders, was presented at today’s full meeting of council.

Council immediately gave the green light to a key recommendation of the review to draw on ideas from the public and call tenders for the operation of the Cotters Markets and cruise ship markets in the CBD.

But council rejected a report recommendation to introduce greater regulation or additional fees and charges for markets in the city.

Council initiated the review and community survey after the agreement with Rotary to operate the Cotters Markets came up for renewal last year.

Mayor Cr Jenny Hill urged Rotary and other interested market operators to incorporate new ideas on growing the Cotters Markets and better tapping into the potential of the cruise ship market.

“The research shows Townsville people love the lively market scene in the city. But it also indicates that there’s room to boost the attraction and experience of our bigger flagship markets – particularly Cotters Markets,” Cr Hill said.

“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.

“Rotary has done a great job for council running the markets in the CBD for the past nine years and we encourage them along with other interested parties to lodge tenders.

“Townsville has a healthy markets scene, with very little interference from council and we have decided against increasing any regulation.

“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 review found that a majority of people favoured the CBD, Strand and Riverway locations for markets.

“People put forward their views on everything from the location and timing of markets, the type of goods for sale, to entertainment and comfort,” Cr Coombe said.

“We received a broad range of responses to the survey which reinforces 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.

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

“The key message is that as a council we will not stand in the way of making our markets bigger and better.”

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

Community survey 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.