Market forced to drop 30 stalls

WOOLGOOLGA'S monthly market has been called off this Saturday after Coffs Harbour City Council imposed new restrictions.

The Woolgoolga Volunteer Sea Rescue organisation was told they would have to reduce the size of their market, their major fundraiser, by one-third.

The council is reportedly concerned about over-use of the Reserve.

Furious stallholders are blaming the council for approving the new privately run Bollywood Beach Bazaar on the Reserve.

Woolgoolga Market, a community event run by the WVSR, has been held on the Reserve for some 15 years and organisers say the space has not been degraded by the event.

Woolgoolga Volunteer Sea Rescue president Jim Woodhill said they had just received their new yearly lease agreement, which said they could not put market stalls along the beachfront side of the reserve.

He said this meant they had to reduce the 90-stall strong market by 35 stalls.

A spokeswoman for Coffs Harbour City Council said yesterday that council had already been in touch with the WVSR and there was no problem with them continuing with the original market as before.

Mr Woodhill said they had been told they could resubmit their application, but it would have to go before a council committee.

He said the timing meant they had been forced to cancel the May market.

Woolgoolga Market organisers do not allow commercial hot food operators at the market, reserving hot food stalls for charity and community groups.

The licensee of the Indian-themed Bollywood Beach Bazaar, held for the first time last Saturday, is the wife of Coffs Harbour City Councillor John Arkan.

Mr Woodhill said last month he believed the bazaar represented a conflict of interest for Cr Arkan.

Cr Arkan denied the charge, saying it was about giving people more choice.

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