THE City of Melbourne last week released details on how and when it intends to revitalise the Queen Victoria Market while keeping it open for business right throughout renewal.
As part of the proposed $250 million renewal, heritage sheds will undergo necessary restoration works, below-ground facilities will be built for traders and new public open spaces will be created.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said all projects seek to preserve the market's history and secure its future, attracting new customers and creating a more viable, prosperous and safer market for traders.
"Queen Victoria Market is now and will always be a functioning, authentic market, and the proposed renewal works will vastly improve facilities for traders and customers, and create new open spaces," the Lord Mayor said.
"More than half the proposed budget will be spent below-ground, with cool rooms, storage, and dedicated delivery and loading docks to make the market safer, improve operations for traders, and create more room for customers and market trade in the long-term.
"This ambitious project would have the largest 'reach' in terms of economic uplift and job creation of any project the City of Melbourne has undertaken, delivering an estimated net benefit of up to $1.2 billion with an impressive benefit cost ratio of 6:1, and the potential to create around 12,000 jobs."
An Implementation Framework will this week be considered by Council, outlining how key projects will be staged over the next five years. In recent weeks, all trader groups have been briefed on the staging approach and the commitment to work with them through the entire renewal process.
"It is expected that the renewal will take five years to complete, not up to 10 as initially thought, with many of the projects to be completed within one to two years of starting," the Lord Mayor said.
Queen Victoria Market Board Chairman Paul Guerra said that some traders would need to relocate to enable the renewal works but new market sites would be created during the renewal program.
"We will support traders and monitor the performance of the market closely throughout the renewal program. Queen Victoria Market management is committed to finding places for all existing traders within the market precinct during the entire market renewal program – a commitment that has been confirmed in the many conversations we've had with traders in recent weeks," Mr Guerra said.
"Every trader will have the opportunity to continue trading throughout the renewal period if they choose. It is our traders that make the market so special, and we will support them throughout this renewal.
"We'll work with traders and customers to design temporary on-site markets, and ensure they are exciting and vibrant places for customers to shop while giving our traders access to quality infrastructure.
"We know car parking is important and this is reflected in the project staging. From 1 September, we will be reducing car parking rates on market days to attract more customers throughout renewal and support our traders. The first hour of parking will be free on market days and $5 for two hours.
"We'll also be ramping up our promotion of the day market so we can attract new customers and ensure our existing loyal customers know that we will be open for business right throughout renewal."
More information is available from the City of Melbourne website at <http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/building-and-development/urban-planning/local-area-planning/queen-victoria-market-precinct-renewal-plan/Pages/queen-victoria-market-precinct-renewal-plan.aspx>.