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A breath of fresh air in city centre

PROPOSED weekend markets could breathe new life and vitality into the city and bring with them valuable shopper dollars for new and existing retailers.

The concept of city markets has been raised once again, this time by the WA Rotary Club.

But unlike previous city markets proposals, which failed to win the support of established city retailers, Rotary Club president Doug Pascoe is confident the latest idea will be embraced by retailers and potential stallholders alike.

The differences between the new proposal and those before it are that existing retailers would be invited to participate in the markets and stall-holders would be banned from selling products that would compete with those found in city stores.

“Retailers would be invited to have their own stalls, perhaps out in front of their stores in the malls,” Mr Pascoe said.

Seconds and old stock, which some retailers sell at factory outlets in the suburbs, could be sold at these stalls.

“And what we definitely do not want is weekend stall-holders selling cheap replicas of top-of-the-line goods found in city stores.”

Mr Pascoe envisaged craft and boutique food stalls would fill the market streets.

Several years ago, the City of Perth considered a similar proposal based on the successful Rocks Markets in Sydney.

City retailers were vocal in voicing their concerns about the markets taking business from them and the city council eventually decided not to proceed with the plan.

“However, if the market proposal is structured properly we believe the retailers will identify the benefits and will want it,” Mr Pascoe said.

The club now was seeking input from city retailers as to how the proposal could be made to work.

“We don’t believe that there are any insolvable problems,” Mr Pascoe said.

“But we are a community organi-sation and we are not going to do anything that will upset the com-munity.”

The proposal already has won initial support from the property sector.

WA Property Council policy and communications officer Geoff Cooper said weekend markets would add colour and vitality to the city and would be a big drawcard for shoppers and tourists.

“The city is the hub of Perth, it is a link between northern and southern suburbs and attracts interstate and international visitors, and it needs to be lifted,” Mr Cooper said.

Colliers Jardine research manager David Cresp said weekend markets would give the city a much-needed point of difference to suburban shopping centres.

“I think there may be some issues but if they are handled carefully … the markets have the potential to be very positive for the city,” he said.

The Retail Traders Association were unavailable for comment on the markets issue.

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