Visitors to the Beach and Country Market at the Mangawhai Museum appeared to have had some difficulty getting around the featured stalls throughout January. Instead of enjoying a leisurely stroll through the market, some people found their attention was focused on traversing the uneven, rocky market ground.
A number of market-goers voiced their concerns on social media after witnessing elderly shoppers and parents with pushchairs trying to negotiate the rough terrain with some people reportedly twisting their ankles.
Many shoppers were baffled as to why the market was not set out on the smooth concrete car park instead of the unsealed section on the Thelma Road side of the Museum.
Community Facilitator for Kaipara District Council, Darlene Lang, says Mangawhai Museum have an arrangement with market organiser Sue Martin, to run the market on the land they lease at Mangawhai Community Park.
“Any changes would need to be discussed with the Friends of Mangawhai Community Park who represent all the stakeholders and are Council’s eyes and ears at the Park. The Friends group would then make a recommendation to Council,” she says.
Manager of Mangawhai Museum and Historical Society Inc, Emma Gray, agrees, saying while the area where the market is currently held is part of the museums leased area, the concreted area is owned and maintained by the Kaipara District Council, not Mangawhai Museum.
“Mangawhai Museum has been open for just over two years and in that time we have added several new developments. The carpark, which is still metal is on our ‘to do’ list, and stands in line with many of our other priorities, all paid for by fundraising and grants,” she says. “We do understand and agree with the issue at hand and are working with Kaipara District Council to look at ways to tackle this problem for the short term.”
If the market were to look at changing location from the current place to the new concreted area, discussions would need to be held with market organiser Sue Martin, Kaipara District Council representatives, Museum representatives and Friends of Mangawhai Community Park, Gray says.
“Ms. Martin would also be required to obtain an all new resource consent including a revised traffic management plan. The agreement between Ms. Martin and Mangawhai Museum has an element of goodwill as the Museum have not requested any site fees during these trial markets,” she says.
The agreement is to be reviewed after the final trial market on April 17, taking into consideration feedback from the public.
“We are going to regrade the unsealed area and hopefully get a finer metal to make it easier to walk on,” Chairman of Friends of Mangawhai Park, Jim Wintle, says. “We’re doing our best to co-operate with everyone.”
Organiser of Mangawhai Beach and Country Markets, Sue Martin says that she is aware of everyone's concerns.
“Unfortunately I’m unable to comment at this time as my hands are tied," she says. "If I was to comment the market would be in jeopardy and possibly cancelled."
Whether the Beach and Country Market will relocate back to the Mangawhai Domain in the near future is ‘entirely up to the Domain Committee’ Martin says.
A Committee spokesperson says they welcome comments from the community on the issue of the location of the Domain via their website and will review the responses at their next meeting.
n As we go to print, Museum volunteers have been proactive in finding a short term fix to the gravel problem and the area in question is currently being graded with a truck load of metal.=
ROUGH TERRAIN: Market grounds at Mangawhai Museum have proved too difficult for some shoppers but hopefully changes underfoot are underway. PHOTO/Julia Wade.