PHOTOS: Engadine Public School P&C saves community market

Community minded: P&C volunteers Aleta Schutt (left), Andrew Hare, Fiona Flaherty, Kelly Bilek and Dolly Organ at the Engadine Public School P&C barbecue.

Community minded: P&C volunteers Aleta Schutt (left), Andrew Hare, Fiona Flaherty, Kelly Bilek and Dolly Organ at the Engadine Public School P&C barbecue.

Engadine Public School parents have rescued the suburb’s monthly Sunday community market, which was in danger of folding after 30 years.

Sutherland Shire Council has awarded a lease to the school’s P&C, enabling parents to continue a tradition started by Engadine Lions Club.

When the Lions Club folded in May last year after 56 years because of dwindling membership, it appeared the monthly market would go the same way.

But, the club’s last president Aleta Schutt said she wasn’t prepared to let that happen, “not after all the effort club members put in over the years”.

Ms Schutt approached Engadine Public School, and the P&C agreed to take over the project.

However, the expectation of a simple lease transfer didn’t eventuate.

The council called for expressions of interest before advising the P&C shortly before Christmas it would be awarded a lease.

The P&C was also required to lodge a development application, which it did in February.

While the “red tape” was being worked through, the P&C was permitted to operate the market on an interim basis.

It is held in the town square on the first Sunday of the month from 8am to 1pm.

P&C secretary Fiona Flaherty said all proceeds flowed to the school, but that was the secondary reason for the parents’ decision.

“The main objective was to save the markets for the community,” she said.

“It’s not just a financial thing, but about what it does for this community.

“A lot of our stall holders have been here a long time and they love the feeling and the vibe of this market.”

Ms Flaherty said an example of the value to the community was that, because the market is held in the town square, residents from the adjoining Moran aged care facility are regular visitors.

Aleta Schutt said the Lions Club started the market on the site now occupied by McDonald’s on Princes Highway, Heathcote.

“It then moved to the library car park and then to the new town square,” she said.

“The P&C are doing a great job with it.”

Stall holders include Ron Mitchell, “The Mattress Man”, who sold electrical goods and furniture from stores in Engadine shopping centre for 50 years.

“I do Caringbah market as well, but Engadine is more productive, probably because people know me after 50 years in the town,” he said.

“I meet a lot of friendly people.”

Stall-holder Jeannette Herbert helped gather a petition when the market looked like it might fold.

“It would have been a big loss to the community,” Ms Herbert said.

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