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.
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.