The fate of a popular Saturday market in Lower Hutt that draws in 10,000 people each weekend is in question after complaints from nearby businesses.
A committee will tonight decide what to do about the Riverbank Market, with options including shutting it down, or introducing a user-pays parking system to cover the expected $213,000 annual traffic management costs.
A complaint from Harvey Norman last year called for a review of the existing resource consent for the market, and asked the council to crack down on compliance issues.
In a letter from Haines Planning, the planning advisers for Harvey Norman, director David Haines said market customers were spilling over into the Harvey Norman Centre's exclusive-use carpark, and had been seen using customer toilets in the centre.
"Harvey Norman has introduced its own measures, as property owner, to address some of these areas of concern, to the extent it is able," he wrote.
"However, there are a number of current issues that require the council's direction and urgent attention."
Haines said their concerns were shared by a number of other businesses in the Harvey Norman Centre, and that the nearby Countdown supermarket was also experiencing adverse effects from the market.
The committee is tonight deciding the future of the market.
Committee members can vote to either close the market with three months' notice, or put in place measures to reduce traffic and parking issues.
Chairman and Deputy Mayor David Bassett said he would not be supporting closure of the market, "but we do have to look at how we control and how the market is managed".
One of the options is for the council to put in place traffic control on Saturdays, at a cost of $4098 per week.
A report in the committee agenda by CBD development manager Cyndi Christensen said the costs could be offset by charging motorists a small fee for parking in the Riverbank carpark on market days.
If a $2 per hour fee was introduced, the council could gather an estimated $5186 per week, which would pay for traffic control and additional parking wardens.
The market has been running since 2005, now bringing in an estimated 10,000 visitors each Saturday.
A survey showed 72 per cent of respondents go to the market every week and 13 per cent attend fortnightly.
Of those attending, 93 per cent shop, and nearly 30 per cent come to the market for the food trucks.
"The Riverbank Market builds social capital and adds colour and vibrancy to the CBD," Christensen said in her report.
A council assessment found the market was operating in breach of several conditions of its consent. One is the hours of operation, which are supposed to be 8am-4pm but are currently about 4am-4pm.
The market is also supposed to manage traffic by employing two people at its own expense during the hours of operation, and the conditions of the existing resource consent have not been reviewed every two years as they were meant to be.
The market's licence to occupy is due to expire in August next year.
The Harvey Norman Centre's manager has been contacted for comment.
An organiser of the market declined to speak about tonight's meeting or the issues raised in the report.