Delays, but market now open

Pleased to be trading are, from left, Shotover Markets organisers Paul Clark and David Thomson,...
Pleased to be trading are, from left, Shotover Markets organisers Paul Clark and David Thomson, Gibbston Valley Cheese Company owner Kevin Paul and stall manager Ruby Mann. The Queenstown indoor market was scheduled for a soft opening on Tuesday but last-minute resource consent check-offs meant this was delayed. Consent authority Lakes Environmental rushed to allow frustrated vendors to open their stalls. Photo by Joe Dodgshun.
Passing its final hurdle of consents, Queenstown's indoor Shotover Markets was yesterday allowed to open its doors for the first time, two days after its scheduled soft opening.

The indoor market, on the ground floor of the Forsyth Barr building in Shotover St, will offer a selection of food, coffee, juices, art and an "evolving" public space seven days a week.

However, before any of that, the market first had to get resource consent, a process which has taken since August and was finally confirmed this week.

Co-creator David Thomson, while frustrated at the delays, was the first to admit he and his business partner Paul Clark had approached it "backwards".

"You are supposed to go in and go for the resource consent at the start, but we kind of did it backwards. The paperwork all looks pretty daunting and we didn't want to put the work off."

The pair had originally hoped to have the market operating before the Rugby World Cup, but the lack of visitors to town and a grander vision put the opening back to late October.

By November, those hopes were dashed with delays over requirements including wash basins, kitchen facilities and building plans.

In the latest delays, Mr Thomson and his business partner Paul Clark scrambled to find a low, wheelchair-accessible desk and secure final sign-off for the electrical code of compliance this week, thus missing the scheduled opening on Tuesday.

Yesterday they faced a wait of up to 20 days for final confirmation.

"But council considered our circumstances and decided to get everyone involved and get it all finished off today, which is really, really good of them," Mr Thomson said.

Despite all the delays, during which some stall-holding companies had to let newly hired staff go, Mr Thomson said he and Mr Clark held no grudges against council.

If anything, Mr Thomson said consenting body Lakes Environmental had been "very supportive".

Both men said the stallholders themselves had been fantastic in the face of an unsure start and were often there "late in the night and early in the morning getting it ready to go".

If the launch of the first stage goes well, the duo plans to extend the market, taking out a temporary wall and adding a further 15 stalls and kitchen facilities in February.

"Now we know how to do it next time," laughed Mr Clark.

Gibbston Valley Cheese Company owner Kevin Paul, one of those involved in the process from the very start, said it was great to see it coming to fruition.

"It's good to see it's finally happening, thanks to the boys and I think I'll be lot happier when the whole place is full of 20-plus stalls and gets a vibrancy about it, rather than having to listen to Paul's singing."

Also featuring in the market will be Deep Creek Deli, European Bakery, Priya Spices and Vegetables, Wake Up Juice Bar, For The Girl Jewellery, Sagun Curry, Toki Pounamu, Mayfly Cafe, and stalls selling sushi, ice cream, fruit from Cromwell and a private collection of Lonely Dog paintings.

These stalls will have staggered introductions throughout the first few weeks.

The juice bar will also serve smoothies, coffee using beans roasted by local supplier Steve Kay, and wheatgrass shots, with the wheatgrass grown on the counter.

This weekend will signal the opening proper, with a musician playing to shoppers as they peruse the stalls.

August 31
: Secured the building, initial opening date September 9.
September 15: Decided to expand market scope.
Early October: Gained wash basin and kitchen facilities.
Early November: Renegotiated opening.
December 6: Scheduled soft opening.
December 8: Actual opening.

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