WHITSUNDAY Farmers Market director Shane Stanley says if Council imposes a 100km radius local condition on eligible stall holders, the twice-monthly market will struggle to survive.
The farmers market was on the agenda at last Wednesday's Council meeting in Bowen. Mayor Jennifer Whitney left the room, declaring an interest due to a connection between her family business and the coffee plantation where the market is held. The remaining councillors debated the issue of keeping the market local and the item was eventually tabled pending further discussion.
Mr Stanley says he believes Cr John Collins, who is also a butcher, has a conflict of interest by virtue of his trade and should also have left the room.
Council's chief executive officer Scott Waters said while Cr John Collins certainly had an opinion to express, he was not the only one.
"There are some very strong views and ones that we are working through to get the best result for everyone," Mr Waters said.
"What we don't want to see is [a situation] where local producers are being swamped by producers from outside the region.
"We are looking at a specific clause that gives three categories that should satisfy everybody but does predominantly give the focus back to local producers [and] I know we'll get to a good outcome for the community," he said.
Mr Stanley said obviously preference was given to local producers, as the idea of a farmers market is to use the shortest possible supply chain.
"But if there's no local stalls knocking down the door, what do we do?" he asked.
Mayor Jennifer Whitney said she was very supportive of the markets but ultimately this was up to the councillors to decide. As for the conflict of interest, she said her advice to councillors was simple.
"If in doubt, step out".
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