THERE were plenty of people, but it was missing 'the vibe'.

That seemed to be the general consensus among stallholders and shoppers at the first Lennox Head market to be held at the Community Centre.

The market has been moved from its old home next to Lake Ainsworth because of concerns about the impact it was having on the lake and the surrounding ecosystem.

According to Ballina councillor Jeff Johnson, the decision to move it was also to reduce traffic congestion around the lake and to boost business in town.

"People coming to Lennox can now enjoy the lake without the bank being filled with market stalls. It's a beautiful backdrop, but the lake is worth a lot more to the local area," he said.

The move has been the subject of much debate within Ballina Council and the wider community and the community sentiment seems to favour keeping the market at the lake, with a 'Leave Lennox Markets by the Lake' Facebook page attracting almost 2000 likes.

Keith Kleindiek and his father have been running Cafe X at the Lennox Head markets for 13 years and he said that although trade was good on Sunday, he was worried what it will be like in the upcoming months.

"The holiday markets are always good, but I'm worried about what will happen in February, in March," Keith said. "We're not really happy, we wanted it to stay, but we'll make the most of it."

Cindy Cao and her partner have been running a dumpling and yum cha stall at the market for the past two years. She said she thought the Lake Ainsworth site was "more relaxed" and that local people enjoyed the setting. She said the Community Centre site was "so small and so hot". On the positive side she appreciated having a tarred road as a surface because often there was a lot of dust and sand blown into the stalls at the lake site.

Several people commented on the lack of flow of the setup, with some stalls inside and some outside.

Market organiser Joni Teale said she was pleased with the first market at the site and thanked stallholders for their patience after some difficulties during the load-in.

She said generators had to be hired to provide power, but said she hopes power will be installed in time for the February market.



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