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Editions

It’s not Car Fair, says business

27 Nov 2009

It’s not Car Fair, says business Image

By Alison Kinkade

A Docklands business has closed after being told it does not fit in with VicUrban’s sustainable image.

The Car Fair traded for only five weeks at its location between Waterfront City and the Bolte Bridge.

The Car Fair, a private used-car market, began operating in early October but after one week was told that VicUrban would not renew its three-month trial licence.

The Car Fair’s Managing Director, Aaron Hockley, said: “We tried to bring a business to the Docklands which, based on overseas experience, would have brought thousands of people to the area. VicUrban destroyed our dream.”

VicUrban’s Docklands Development Director, Simon Wilson said: “The event was inconsistent with VicUrban’s focus on promoting sustainable development and communities that are close to public transport are pedestrian and bike friendly and encourage decreased reliance on car use.”

Mr Wilson claims VicUrban had made it clear from the start that the licence was always only short-term.  “As the area in question has always been intended for permanent development, temporary licences are most commonly issued,” he said.

But Mr Hockley disputes this and says VicUrban had encouraged him to believe he would have its support in Docklands in the longer term.

Mr Hockley said the Car Fair invested close to $200,000, including more than $100,000 in marketing, and it had attended more than 20 meetings with Docklands stakeholders to comply with what he described as VicUrban’s “onerous requirements”.  

“Unfortunately, as discussed with VicUrban on several occasions, the Car Fair is not able to break even during its first few months of operation so, after obtaining legal advice, we had to close down operations to avoid incurring unrecoverable costs,” Mr Hockley said.

Mr Wilson said: “VicUrban strongly supports efforts and events aimed at activating Docklands and works closely with the City of Melbourne and developers to promote the precinct and its attractions.”

The Car Fair was operating in the area previously occupied by Cirque du Soleil and the area continues to be unused.

The Car Fair has vowed to pursue legal action if VicUrban fails to provide compensation.

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Comments

  • Dr Raj at 2:12pm on 13/12/09

    Very good article. Congratulations. Very well written!!

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