New focus for city market

Date published: 7 July 2017

Townsville City Council today awarded tender for the operation of Cotters Market to Renegade Handmade founder, Karissa Chase.

The 12-month agreement is conditional on Ms Chase boosting the profile and patronage of Cotters Market and demonstrating other innovative ideas to facilitate market growth.

The decision signals the end of a year-long process, which included an extensive community consultation process and report, aimed at drawing ideas from residents and stakeholders to revitalise the attraction.

Townsville Mayor Cr Jenny Hill said the competitive tender process attracted interest from four individuals and organisations, including current operators, Rotary Clubs of Townsville.

“As operators of the markets for the past nine years it’s important to acknowledge Rotary and the tremendous job the group has done in preserving the essence of Cotters Markets.

“While Rotary’s tender was competitive, Ms Chase provided a better plan in her tender which focused on fresh, innovative ideas to revamp our flagship Sunday markets.”

Ms Chase has been awarded the tender for an initial 12-month period with options for a further 24 or 36 months to be decided by council.

Council also agreed today to support the running of the markets for a two to four-week transition period, should it be required.

“Markets are an important part of the local economy, providing opportunities for home businesses and start-ups to access their customers and this process has been all about getting the best possible outcome for both stallholders and the community,” Cr Hill said.

Council initiated the review of the markets last year after the agreement with Rotary to operate the Cotters Markets came up for renewal.

The review included the Townsville Markets Project Investigation and Consultation Report, which surveyed almost 1500 residents and stakeholders to gather community views on the city’s markets scene.

Community suggestions for a greater variety of stalls, local produce and handmade products, better entertainment, parking, and better management were used as a baseline to develop the tender document for the Cotters Markets.