Community & Business

19 March, 2024

Market move on cards

MARKET stallholders are breathing a sigh of relief after news that the Mareeba Markets could return to the 100 Park in the coming months.

By Ellie Fink

Sandy Ryan and Michael Alba have stepped up to be the voice of the Mareeba Markets stallholders, which they hope will move back to Centenary Park in the coming months.
Sandy Ryan and Michael Alba have stepped up to be the voice of the Mareeba Markets stallholders, which they hope will move back to Centenary Park in the coming months.

After almost two years of being held at the Mareeba Turf Club, every stallholder who attended a meeting last week put their hand up to say they were desperate to move back. 

For many, it was a do-or-die situation, with some stallholders claiming they had lost 60% of trade since the move to the turf club.

With the situation becoming more dire, with stallholders pulling out of the markets every month, community advocates Michael Alba and Sandy Ryan stepped up to host a meeting, which St Thomas’ Parish School P&F (who run the markets) president Samantha Malcolm also attended. 

After meeting with stallholders after the last markets, Mr Alba said it was obvious that everyone involved was on the same page. 

“I asked the stallholders to raise their hand if they wanted to move to the old site and every single person who was at the meeting raised their hand,” he said. 

“So now that we can see just how bad they want to move back, Sandy and I and a group of us are working towards making this happen, by bringing all the parties together to bring it back to the 100 Park.”

After the stallholder meeting, Mr Alba and Mr Ryan arranged a meeting with St Thomas’ principal Paul Rayner and Ms Malcolm to share their thoughts.

“They were very open and we asked them some very difficult questions which (Mr Rayner) had no issue answering,” Mr Ryan said. 

Mr Alba and Mr Ryan also agreed the school should open up to the idea of community groups helping to organise the event, with retirees like themselves having “more time on their hands” to help coordinate it. 

Since moving to the turf club, Farm Boys Kitchen owner Grant McClelland has seen a 60% profit drop. 

For over a decade, Mr McClelland has attended every market on the Tablelands and has never seen profits plummet this significantly. 

“The current situation at the turf club is making a lot of stallholders’ businesses unviable as stallholders still need to sell products to make a living,” he said.

“Markets in Tablelands Regional Council, such as Malanda, Tolga, and Yungaburra, have seen increased stallholders and patrons, to the detriment of Mareeba markets.

“We have all been hit in the pocket by this move. Given that the occupied stalls are down 40% from their peak and the current mood amongst the public, it is great that the school is taking corrective action to restore the 100 Park markets.”

The next steps for the market move now is to obtain a traffic plan, with the Department of Transport and Main Roads confirming it is working with council and St Thomas’ to secure a traffic control permit.

TMR also stated the combined entities must apply for a Road Corridor Permit in order to operate on state-controlled road reserve, where the markets had spilled into before the move.

 “TMR issues road corridor permits to applicants planning to carry out works, activities or events or install structures, in the state-controlled road corridor. This is to ensure the structure, activity or event is carried out or installed safely and in accordance with requirements.  

 “A Traffic Control Permit is applicable if works are being undertaken or signage is required in the state-controlled road corridor to change the existing speed and/or path of vehicles, pedestrians or bike riders. The permit also ensures appropriate traffic control measures are in place for safety and to manage traffic flow.

“A temporary reduced speed limit has been requested in the area of the markets held at Centenary Park, Mareeba in the past. A Traffic Control Permit application would be required for this type of request.”

Mr Rayner was unable to confirm a timeline for the market move, but he said he and the P&F were working closely with all stakeholders to ensure the market’s success. 

“The school P & F continues to work closely with stallholder representatives in a positive and respectful manner to make the Mareeba Markets a positive experience for all stallholders, the community and visitors to the district,” he said.

Mr Alba and Mr Ryan will be hosting a meeting at the 100 Park from 1pm on 30 March with St Thomas’ P&F, current groups operating out of the 100 Park, council and stallholders to look at the future of the markets. 


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