Markets battle for supremacy

A NEW market planned for Woolgoolga will see a local rescue organisation lose money and spoil the existing community market, according to locals.

But the market's organiser disagrees, saying it will provide more choice and benefit the community in the long term.

A Woolgoolga Beach Markets stallholder, who did not wish to be identified, said the colourfully named Bollywood Beach Bazaar, due to open in May, would ruin the existing monthly Woolgoolga Beach Market.

And the woman is supported by Woolgoolga Volunteer Sea Rescue President Jim Woodhill, who said the new enterprise would spread available stallholders too thinly, making both markets less appealing to visitors, which would affect the WVSR.

The Bazaar is a commercially licensed business which has booked the council-managed Woolgoolga Beach Reserve for a twice-monthly market on the first and fourth Saturdays of each month.

The licensee is Surinder, the wife of Coffs Harbour City Councillor John Arkan, who already operates the Curried Away food stall at a number of local markets.

The Woolgoolga Beach Market, held on the second Saturday of each month, is the major fundraiser for the Woolgoolga Sea Rescue organisation, providing money to keep their rescue boat operating.

Organisers use volunteer helpers and permit only charities and community groups to operate food outlets at the market, which excludes food stalls like Curried Away.

Mr Woodhill said his organisation, which also supports the quarterly Woolgoolga High School market, was not at all happy about the Bazaar and did not support it and he believed it represented a conflict of interest for Cr Arkan.

But Cr Arkan said it was all about giving people more choice.

“There was no conflict of interest and this project had been in the pipeline for some years,” Cr Arkan said.

Cr Arkan believes new developments often attracted opposition until they were established.

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