Fremantle Council has voted to conduct an Expression of Interest process to identify an operator for a summer market in the city.
A popular multicultural food market was established at Bathers Beach in 2012 before relocating to South Beach in 2015.
A five-year licence agreement to operate the South Beach markets, which included the City of Fremantle providing waste bins free of charge and contributing $16,000 towards the hire of a generator, expired in March 2020.
Last year, Fremantle Council voted to extend the licence agreement for the 2020-21 season, but also to conduct an open and transparent process to secure a market operator for future years.
This week the council’s Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee signed off on the delivery of an EOI process to operate a market at South Beach or another location in Fremantle.
Fremantle Deputy Mayor, Andrew Sullivan said an open EOI process was necessary to give everyone an equal opportunity to access public land.
“The South Beach markets have very quickly established themselves as a summer institution in South Fremantle, and the council recognises the great job by the current operator to build them into the success they’ve become,” Cr Sullivan said.
“South Beach was transformed in the late 90’s to create a hugely popular foreshore environment and the markets are a commercial operation that helps activate this public asset.
“It’s incumbent on the council to ensure everybody has a fair opportunity to use it, and that no individual has a permanent monopoly on the space.
“We have the same process for concerts, coffee vans and other commercial operations that operate on public land, to ensure everything is fair and equitable.
“Offering periodic licenses for the use of public open space is different to how we lease bricks and mortar buildings, where the lessee has to make their own considerable investment to establish a business and fit out the tenancy.
“An open and transparent EOI process gives anyone interested in operating a market the chance to put their best case forward, including the current operator, and then the council will be able to determine the best outcome for the City and our ratepayers.”
The criteria to be used to assess submissions includes demonstrated experience in the delivery and operation of a market, minimising the community impact, maximising the economic and community benefit and offering local businesses with the opportunity to participate.
Mr Sullivan said the most suitable operator identified through the EOI process would be offered a licence agreement with a three-year term.
At the end of the three-year term, community consultation will again be undertaken to gauge the public response to the markets, he said.