Glenbrook Rotary markets gets short term reprieve

The Glenbrook Rotary Markets should be able to have a Christmas market this year, while awaiting a new tendering process by the NSW Department of Education.

Blue Mountains Council recently approved the development application for the markets, leaving only the Department of Education insurance and tendering issues as a problem for the charity.

At the old Glenbrook Public School site, the Rotary Club has historically operated under a community use agreement rather than a licence agreement. A Department of Education spokesperson said: "current department policy guidelines, consistent with NSW Government guidelines, requires the market to operate under a licence agreement."

"A public tender process will be held for the market licence to ensure equity for all potential providers early next year."

But importantly the department spokesperson said the Rotary Club can continue to operate under the community use agreement until this time, subject to the club providing the relevant insurance documentation.

Rotary is pleased by what appears to be a "change of heart". Last week they had just a few hurdles to go.

As we went to press a Rotary spokesman, the original instigator of the markets, Ken Linfoot, said the outcome is "very much welcomed ... it is the breakthrough we are looking for .. we are dancing in the streets".

The insurance issue had been made clearer and they have clarification from their Rotary insurers, that the changes Education have proposed to the insurance are workable for our underwriters, he said. It means they can take up the offer to resume the markets in the period until a public tender process is finalised.

Mr Linfoot said they were still "not overjoyed with the requirement that a licence to operate the markets which we have established at Glenbrook more than 17 years will be put out to public tender next year". But he added "overall, this recent letter is a big step forward in allowing us the possibility of resuming markets in December ...under Education's revised conditions."

"It paves the way for us now to go back to Education [this week] with the new certificate, a signed agreement to use the school, and the approved DA from council. With all of this, we believe they will be in a position to give our club approval to use the Glenbrook site up to the time that their planned tender process is completed, well into next year.

Rotary is now hard at work finalising details for their Christmas market and Australia day activities.

Mayor Mark Greenhill said he was delighted council approved the DA for Glenbrook markets, which were "so important to our community".

Mr Ayres, who is also the Minister for Tourism and now the state's deputy Liberal leader, had to intervene in the issue writing to the Minister for Education to have the Glenbrook Rotary Markets matter fast-tracked.

"This situation is farcical and the Department needs to stop wasting time and enter a direct negotiation with Rotary. I want these successful and much loved markets to continue as they have for over 17 years," he said.

Still need to tender: Glenbrook Rotary Markets have a short-term reprieve after some obstacles have been removed to the markets returning. Rotarians Garry Smith and Ken Linfoot said local charities rely on the funds.

Still need to tender: Glenbrook Rotary Markets have a short-term reprieve after some obstacles have been removed to the markets returning. Rotarians Garry Smith and Ken Linfoot said local charities rely on the funds.

The last market was held on June 19 and then closed due to COVID. Lower Mountains Rotary president Garry Smith said since 2004 the markets have raised more than $300,000 for Rotary's local and international charities - and $75,000 in rent to Springwood High which has served as landlord in recent years.