New option for Thirroul Beach markets

The Thirroul Beach Markets, which were made defunct late last year after strong community opposition, could be resurrected at Bulli Showground.

Thirroul Beach Markets' proponent Kirrily Sinclair recently lodged a new proposal with Wollongong City Council, planning to run a weekly farmers market, and monthly design and produce market, at the showground.

Ms Sinclair's original venture to hold a weekly market at Thirroul's Tingara Park met with heated criticism.

Some retailers worried it would destroy their customer base and affect trade, while a residents' group launched a campaign against the operation, saying it would put extra strain on the limited car parks surrounding the beach.

To address these concerns, Ms Sinclair agreed to scale back the markets to a once-monthly offering and said she would conduct a study on the effects of the monthly market on existing retailers during her venture's first six months.

This revised proposal received 76 objections, including one petition containing 218 signatures, and 110 letters of support.

Council staff recommended the scaled-back markets be approved, subject to a number of conditions.

However, this was rejected by the council's Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel in December, with panel members finding the markets were "contrary to both the prime purpose of public open space and the objectives of the [park]".

Under the new Bulli-based proposal, markets would be held from 8am to 3pm every Sunday and host up to 160 stalls - including 100 "artisan and fresh produce" stalls and 60 farmers market stands.

Ms Sinclair expects to host a maximum of 200 people at the fresh produce market and up to 1000 people at the monthly combined event.

"It would be our aim to raise the awareness of Bulli as a destination ... through bringing more people into the area and through the township," Ms Sinclair said in her proposal.

"The proposed farmers markets would be 'paddock to plate' produce and added-value food products, [while] the once-monthly artisan market would be craft and small sellers."

The Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association, which leases the showground, agreed to the terms.

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