Kirby Lane owner Galen King’s vision of creating a community space in the heart of Nelson initially hit various bureaucratic barriers. Photo: Charles Anderson.

Inner city Farmers Market back on track

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The Nelson Farmers market will now be able to move to Kirby Lane after council reviewed further information about the proposal.

Last week it was looking like the plans might need to be shelved after Kirby Lane owner Galen King said he was met with excessive red tape to bring the market to Bridge St.

Nelson City Council said that the market needed resource consent to operate one day a week. It would have made the project unviable. It was the latest in an ongoing saga over the development, which was initially supposed to be a container mall.

Galen said that he was close to giving up on his vision for a vibrant inner city pocket park after months of being knocked back by what he says is excessive council bureaucracy.

However, over the weekend, council staff reviewed the application to move the market. Council made the decision that, providing the stalls aren’t permanently fixed, then a resource consent is actually not required.

Deputy Mayor Paul Matheson say he’s pleased that, as result of reviewing the application, a decision has been made to allow the market to move to its preferred location without requiring resource consent.

“We understand that bringing the market closer to the city centre will have benefits for everyone involved.”

Farmers Market manager Miriam Clark says the news is positive.

“We have been very transparent about wanting to move back to the CBD.”

In June, the Nelson Farmers Market made a submission to the council to move from the Maitai Boulevard. They said the location proved to be too exposed to extreme weather and lacked sufficient foot traffic.

The market explored its options and considered relocating to Kirby Lane. However, while finalising the lease, council revealed that a resource consent would be required for a market to be held on one day a week.

Galen said the “one size fits all” resource consent model was “clearly broken”.

He was unable to be reached in New York City, where he is based, but said last week that in other cities around the world, council requirements are adjusted to adapt to the economics of the project and the perceived benefits to the community.

“Meanwhile, we pay rates on the empty block of land as if there was a full building stretching from Bridge St to New St,” he said. “The carparks barely cover the rates, let alone bringing any actual income in.”

He says the Farmers Market is supposed to be about bringing people together.

“The whole reason I am pursuing the idea of a pocket laneway is to bring people into the CBD, to create a community space.”

Galen says he wants to see Nelson bursting at the seams, with no empty space left. “We need to see people coming into the CBD to work, socialise, shop, eat, drink, play.”