Richard Moore: Blindsided by shed decision

By Richard Moore

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I have played a lot of sports and have copped more than a few knocks, but there was one in particular that still lives with me.

I was playing Aussie rules in Auckland for the North Shore Tigers and we were up against a side we were putting to the sword.

You may not know but in Aussie rules you can only carry the ball for 15m before either touching it to the ground or bouncing it.

Now bouncing an oval ball while running at pace is a bit of a skill and, while I was okay at it, I did need to concentrate so as not to stuff it up.

Anyway, I was heading towards goal and in mid-bounce - that is the ball coming back up to me - when WUUUMPPPP! I was absolutely flattened by a little guy who did a flying hip and shoulder into me as I was about to grab the footy.

I was not tensed up for the impact and so went down like a sack of spuds, gasping, hurting and asking for an umpy to get the number of the truck that just hit me.

I stayed on the field, but it took a good five minutes for me to recover.

Last week, I was blindsided in a similar fashion by a move that saw the Cargo Shed taken from Creative Tauranga's stewardship and given to a stallholders' group.

Creative Tauranga had been overseeing the shed for a couple of years and was acting as a form of landlord of the building.

It collected the nominal rents from stallholders, renovated the building and promoted it as an arts destination.

Earlier this year, Creative Tauranga, which was answerable to the city council about the Cargo Shed and its budget, decided the operation needed to change and so gave notice to the stallholders they would need to leave.

They were not happy with the idea and decided to fight the move and try to get the lease for the Cargo Shed themselves.

When I heard about it, I thought well there's not much likelihood of that as Creative Tauranga had just released its vision of the new Cargo Shed which would be renamed to something like People's Market and would be full of fresh, interesting things.

And I also like the aim to make it a place for Tauranga locals, rather than being classified as a tourist attraction.

While tourist dollars are very important to the Bay, art attractions need to grab the attention of locals for it is we who keep such places going.

And if the tourist business was all that was needed to make the Cargo Shed a going concern why did many shareholders moan and groan about the rent of about $20 a day they had to pay to Creative Tauranga.

They complained so much the rent was dropped to $10.

That's the cheapest commercial rent you'll find in this city - if not the entire country.

There would be plenty of art and souvenir businesses who would willingly pay that amount without a second's hesitation.

Anyhow, the stallholders forced the issue with Tauranga City Council and a meeting was held over the matter.

Both sides gave presentations and then Tauranga's councillors unanimously voted to take the running of the Cargo Shed from our community arts organisation - which organises things like the very successful Summerfest Family Day and fosters the arts throughout our city and its surrounds - and give it to the stallholders.

I'm sure councillors did due diligence on the matter to ensure that they were passing the Cargo Shed over to a credible outfit that will indeed be able to run the place as well, or better, than Creative Tauranga.

Because there would be nothing worse than to have the operation collapse in a heap despite all the best intentions in the world.

The decision to sever the shed's ties with Creative Tauranga was agreed on unanimously, so every single councillor in this city decided that instead of staying with a monitored and audited professional entity running the Cargo Shed, they would rather it be done by stallholders.

From an outsiders' viewpoint it seems a little strange.

But then I guess it is election year ...

And good luck to the stallholders in their endeavours.

It is a very brave move to take it all on to your own shoulders and one that will require a healthy investment of time and your own money.

richard@richardmoore.com

Richard Moore is an award-winning Western Bay journalist and photographer.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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