A last-minute cancellation by the Byron Market management for last Sunday’s market at the Butler Street Reserve has left stallholders upset, confused and without expected earnings.
At around 2.30pm on Saturday, a brief email to stallholders from manager Tess Cullen simply said, ‘Tomorrows [sic] Sunday Market has been cancelled. Cheers.’
Social media subsequently lit up, with market operators complaining about the short notice and the ‘unprofessional notification without any valid reason’.
However The Echo understands that around 100 stallholders cancelled out of approximately 350.
One market stallholder, who had been operating for 10 years, told The Echo that 100 missing stallholders should not have stopped it from proceeding.
They added that a cancellation is very rare and only in extreme weather conditions.
‘When they made the call to cancel, it wasn’t even raining. In the past, we’ve had to pack up to avoid hailstorms.
‘Given the impact to stallholders, why couldn’t they run a smaller market?
‘How much were the managers going to lose in revenue? It was also advertised on TV, which is paid for by our fees. It was a waste of money.
‘Though I don’t operate one, the most affected are the food stalls, who prepare in the days or night before.’
And Tane Allan from the Rainbow Region Stallholders Association said, ‘This was not human error, this was a lack of care and consultation. ‘We weren’t contacted prior.’
Byron Community Centre general manager Paul Spooner posted on Facebook at around 10pm Sunday.
While it was empathetic to the stallholder’s loss, no further explanation was given and encouraged stallholders top attend a ‘meeting to discuss the details of this decision and how we can ensure a much better process in the future.’
He said, ‘The large disappointment and frustration regarding the market cancellation has been heard loud and clear by those managing the Byron Markets.’
‘Call made too early’
‘I believe stallholders have the right to hear first hand why this decision was taken rather than just through emails or posts on Facebook.
‘This is especially relevant given the level of angst the decision has caused.
‘What is perfectly clear is the weather call was made far too early. This must be fixed for the future. I can assure you the Byron Community Centre does not want to see markets cancelled unnecessarily.
‘Nobody wins from a market being cancelled – least of all those who are running it.
‘I am very aware that stall holders who were wanting to trade today have missed out on important revenue and incurred costs. I am truley [sic] sorry this has occurred. I spend my whole working life trying to assist people.
‘The last thing I want to see is anyone’s life being made harder through a loss of income.’
The meeting is planned for 2pm Tuesday January 19 at the Byron Community Centre.