A produce market that was to be held every Sunday in Freshwater has been cancelled because of opposition from nearby retailers. The Freshie Produce Market was given the go-ahead after a survey of local residents indicated their number one desire for the area was a fresh-produce market.
Northern Beaches Council put out a tender for organisations to run the market and Cambridge Markets – which also puts on similar markets in the Entertainment Quarter, Watsons Bay and Rose Bay – won the bid.
But 10 days before the market was due to kick off the council pulled the plug, citing “further input from the local business community”.
“We had understood from council that they were excited about a market coming, as it would invigorate a quiet area,” Madelienne Anderson, founder and curator of Cambridge Markets, told Broadsheet. “However, it seems fear of competition motivated their objections.
“It seems when the [bricks-and-mortar] retailers heard there was an offering beyond vegetables and fruit, they saw it as a threat. We … believe for a market to succeed it requires a broad spectrum of food and produce, including hot food, not just straight fruit and veggies. Our mission was to reinvigorate Freshwater by bringing thousands of new and varied people to the area. It is sad that the retailers ultimately did not share this vision. We are upset for our stallholders, who are small businesses and many from the area, who have already been planning and had bought extra stock.”
Anderson says markets such as the one at Freshwater help local businesses by drawing thousands of people to the areas where they are held. Northern Beaches Council agrees, but told Broadsheet it must consider the local community’s concerns.
“Whilst council values the benefits that markets bring by adding vibrancy to our area, council takes the views of its community seriously,” says Northern Beaches Council CEO Ray Brownlee. “Council remains committed to supporting a diversity of markets across the region and will continue to work with operators to look at other sites.”
Anderson says Cambridge is actively looking for spaces to hold the markets.
In the meantime, visit these markets for your fix.