Saturday, November 3, 2018

Deputy mayor to run New Norfolk Market

Jessica Cosgrove.
INCOMING Derwent Valley Council deputy mayor Jessica Cosgrove has been appointed as the permanent operator of the New Norfolk High Street Market. The final meeting of the outgoing council voted unanimously to grant a licence to Ms Cosgrove, who has been the market's temporary organiser for some months.

In a report to the October council meeting, regional development officer Jess Dallas recommended the acceptance of Ms Cosgrove's expression of interest to operate the market. She also suggested that the general manager be authorised to provide initial support to the new operator.

Councillors initially seemed reluctant to endorse the motion, with mayor Martyn Evans having to call twice for someone to move that Ms Dallas' recommendations be accepted. Deputy mayor Ben Shaw ultimately moved the motion, seconded by Cr Julie Triffett. Cr Shaw, Cr Anne Salt and Cr James Graham then spoke to the motion and it was carried without dissent.

The New Norfolk High Street Market grew from an earlier market held on Saturdays at Willow Court. A council meeting in September 2017 approved a six month trial of the market in the town centre, initially organised by John Blegg.

"Consultation conducted with the community following the trial revealed an overwhelmingly  positive response for the retention of the market on a permanent basis," Ms Dallas said in her report. This expression of support led to the council extending the approval for the temporary market while seeking expressions of interest from potential permanent operators.

Ms Dallas said only one expression of interest had been received and it had been assessed by a panel including representatives from the Brighton Council and Hobart City Council. The assessment gave the proposal a score of 27 out of 45, or 60%.

 "The  evaluation  assessment team made a number of  observations in regard to the EOI submitted, overall concluding that the EOI should be accepted, subject to the applicant being provided with some guidance from the Council in relation to a number of areas of concern highlighted in the report," Ms Dallas said. "These included the proponent undertaking traffic management training, that the Council suggest that the proponent create a committee or group of volunteers to assist with the operations of the market and that the operator of the market be provided with some guidance in regard to completing the requirements of the event management guide and licence."

Ms Dallas said the licence document clearly stated that the market operator will be required to  comply with all statutory and regulatory requirements, including:
  • Traffic management;
  • Public health, food handling and storage;
  • Public liability insurance, and;
  • All other requirements contained in the Council’s Events Management Guide. 
"There is an allocation in the current budget which may be able to be utilised to assist in providing the initial support recommended to the successful market operator," Ms Dallas said.

Speaking in support of the recommendation, Cr Shaw said the motion was fantastic. "I think the market's been absolutely fantastic for the revival of the Derwent Valley precinct," he said. "Going last week I think it was thousands of people there."

Cr Salt said she was "concerned and surprised" that most of the recommendations in the report had not already been in place. Cr Graham agreed that the original proposal had been "slightly undercooked" but the new proposal clearly identified the role of the council and the market organiser.

Since the council meeting, Ms Cosgrove has announced Banjo's New Norfolk as the naming-rights sponsor of the High St market.


  1. Love to see the licence council has issued.

  2. Bit of a joke really

  3. in reply to the question. Why is that your concern?
    Transparency is why, something that our council isn’t known for. The council is licencing out the high street which is public space, and I think the public is entitled to see exactly what that licence contains. I’d like to know what conditions the licence has, for instance, with regards to insurance, food licences, safety and the like, I’d like to know if the operator has the right to extend the market into other areas/streets, who will be responsible if any conflict arises with stall holders or more importantly high street businesses. This market is being conducted on a public road and the operator is to be propped up by ratepayer’s money, I’m a ratepayer and I want to know what my money is being spent on, and if you’re a ratepayer you should want to know as well. I also don’t think that the issues around the disruption to businesses on high street have been properly addressed. And it’s certainly worth noting that council has accessed the operators EOI at a low 60%, hardly a ringing endorsement for the operator’s ability to conduct the market. With regards to the fact that council suggests that the operator form a committee, who will choose the committee? I would have preferred to see that as being a mandatory requirement with the businesses being given a very big say in what goes on with substantial representation on the committee. The council stuffed this up when it gave the former Operator free usage of the high street and didn’t maintain any control over the market, the conflicts which arose with local businesses was predictable, completely avoidable and was very poorly managed. I’d like to see things done a whole lot better. Has anyone considered how the market will impact on the Xmas parade? Or how much impact it will have on the Xmas trade of the local businesses? Another issue could be that the operator is now a member of council, how will she manage the conflicts of interest which may arise? For the record I support the market.

    1. I think you will find the Council has been very open with the appointment of the permanent operator, in fact the copy of the Licensing Agreement is on the Agenda of the Oct meeting. Whilst the proposal may have a lower score I believe that may have been simply due to the lack of detail written in the proposal and I'm not concerned about the operators ability to succeed. From my observations she has done an exception job thus far and that is reflected in the amount of people who support her and members of the public whom attend every Saturday. You will also find there will be no market when the Christmas Parade is on, as stated in the Licensing agreement attached to the EOI. As to if and who the operator decides to have on her committee that is her decision as it is now being run as a private business. If a conflict of interest does arise I am confident the incoming Deputy Mayor will handle that responsibly. The new operator has the support of local business owners, and is very active in her interaction and conflict resolution with them. Like any other business in High Street I support the market, and am pleased that it is here to stay!

    2. I have made no comment in regards to the transparency of the appointment of the operator, you are obviously privy to a document which hasn’t been made available to the public, a councillor perhaps? Because the licencing agreement wasn’t part of the agenda made available to the public as you have stated, hence my reason for questioning the transparency of the process. The EOI documents were quite detailed so I think the deficiencies are in the applicant’s application. That is reinforced by council volunteering ratepayer’s money to help get the operator up to a standard. I wonder if that assistance will now be afforded to anyone else wanting to enter into some arrangement with the council, perhaps contractors can now get some financial assistance to get themselves job ready. Maybe some training in traffic control or help with insurance etc. You again quote the licensing agreement attached to the EOI in relation to the Xmas parade but as I’ve said that wasn’t made available to the public. As you have stated she is running a private business, but like it or not, that business, the market, has had a big impact on other businesses on the high street and they should have a place on any committee she forms, it should have been a requirement of council that that was the case. You are ill informed if you think that she has the complete support of all the businesses on the high street, and the potential for another blow up like occurred in the past is ever present, it was the lack of councils control over the high street and a proper process for conflict resolution which was the cause of the problems. I suspect that given your knowledge about the licence you are probably a councillor and are therefore going to defend your decision to grant the said licence, in the interest of transparency it would be good that the council makes the licence arrangements public but I wont hold my breath.

  4. wounder it wasn't sponsored by the Australian Labor Party

  5. Your comment came out of left field �� Interested to know why you would make such a statement?

  6. Interesting read, all things considered