The idea of creating a massive tarmac for the Leonora Market is a good idea but still does not provide a solution that balances demand and supply. The current Administration should consider the creation of a second market where there is sufficient demand to support its existence. Based on personal observations and the comments of the vendors, it is clear that there isn’t sufficient demand to support a large number of vendors inside and outside the Leonora Market.
If we are to pursue a fair solution, then it is only just that the vendors inside the market get the benefit of the development. They have been paying rent for years, while those outside the market have been selling without paying rent, thus having a cost advantage that gives them the ability to undercut the profits of the vendors inside the market. An equitable solution would be to remove the vendors along the road and create a new market location where they can also benefit from good infrastructure and a source of captive demand. This will allow both groups to benefit from stronger demand for their products.
Another essential solution has to do with the professional service provided by the Police at the market. The presence of law and order is critical during and after this transition period so as to avoid confrontations from escalating. The Police should have been able to prevent unauthorised vendors from establishing a presence outside the market. This must be a priority in the current Leonora Market after a solution is put in place. If a new market is established, the Police should also ensure that unauthorised vendors do not establish a presence. The Government must allow those adhering to the policies of the market to benefit from their investments. The Police have a major role to play in ensuring our markets are safe and free from those who break market policy by illegally selling goods in unauthorised locations.
It should also be noted that this is a problem across the country in other established markets. It would be beneficial to have a meeting between the Government and the administrators of the various major markets nationwide to establish a national standard and policy that will ensure our markets are tourist-friendly (safe and sanitary), profitable investments for authorised sellers, and have the infrastructure necessary to maintain a high standard that allows for a pleasant shopping and selling experience. The Mayors also have a role to play, and making this an ongoing annual process will help ensure that agreed-upon solutions are implemented and new opportunities identified to continually improve our markets are discussed. What the current Administration has recently done is a good first step in this direction.