Beckley Market avoids closure
LAND managers of Corio’s Beckley Park have negotiated a last-minute reprieve for the site’s market that was due for closure this weekend, taking control of the 50-year-old institution from the Geelong Greyhound Racing Club (GGRC).
Three years through a 10-year contract to run the market, GGRC general manager Ray Bartolo cited high fixed costs associated with running the event as a key reason behind the club’s decision to pull out.
“Since the COVID pandemic and shutdowns the club has been losing money by running the market,” he said last week.
“These losses have been significant, and our club is determined to focus on animal welfare as a priority.”
Beckley Park Committee of Management (BPCoM) secretary manager Bob Barry said the club had been given “considerable” rent relief over several years, and the GGRC’s decision to pull out of the contract effectively broke their licence and the matter had been referred to lawyers.
“We will be looking at that from what our legal rights are,” he said.
Mr Barry also criticised the club for giving less than a month’s notice on its decision.
“People rely on this market, it’s not just a hobby, it’s an income, source of food and produce… particularly for those in the north of Geelong,” he said.
The committee’s decision to takeover running of the market is on an interim basis, it will manage operations until a new manager can be found and it is already in the process of considering three expressions of interest.
“In effect the BPCoM have rescued the market to support the community and the stallholders,” Mr Barry said.
Up to 150 stallholders operate from site selling produce, gourmet food, flowers, homewares, plants and clothing each Saturday, many had expressed concern on social media about their future after receiving notice from the GGRC of its decision.
BPCoM took control of the event after Saturday, July 2.