Market date pushed back

AFTER weeks of community push back from politicians and market stall owners, the proposed 3 August opening of the Epping Market has been scrapped.

The decision comes after market stall owners voiced concerns the site would not be ready in time and a new date of 31 August has been set.

Member for Morwell Russell Northe welcomed the delayed opening.

“It’s a positive step. Users of the market where forthright saying it wasn’t ready,” Mr Northe said.

“I’m pleased [the government] has listened to those who will use the market.”

He said feedback from Gippsland growers and producers was the new opening date was a sensible outcome allowing time for the necessary works to be completed.

“Feedback from local growers is that the new opening day is a more realistic one,” he said.

“However, there are still some outstanding sticking points that won’t be tested until the market is open, in particular the sleeping bays and the functionality of the market itself.”

Public Transport and Employment Minister Jacinta Allan said the decision to reschedule the opening was not taken lightly.

“There has been extensive consultation with the market community,” Ms Allan said.

She said about 20 per cent of market tenants had been unable to complete their store fit-outs in time for Monday’s scheduled opening.

“After consultation with the 80 per cent of tenants ready to move, we have been assured that a delay to the opening date will not adversely impact them, and they are happy to work to a 31 August opening date,” Ms Allan said.

“We believe that this extension, in time, will allow those tenants who have yet to complete their fit-outs the opportunity to do so.

“It is in the interests of all Melbourne Market participants that the move to the new site is a smooth transition and that there is as little disruption to trade as possible.”