Stabroek Wharf rehab: City Council has no money to construct stalls for vendors

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… as $23M expended to effect preparatory works at relocation site 

A section of the Stabroek Market Wharf that was closed to vendors

Over 80 vendors who ply their trade at the Stabroek Market Wharf, from which they have recently been debarred, will now each have to produce $400,000 to construct new stalls at the relocation site.

This is because the cash-strapped City Council, having expended $23 million to effect preparatory works at the relocation site and to debar the vendors from access to the Stabroek Wharf, now does not have the financial resources to accommodate the vendors’ relocation.

At Monday’s Statutory M&CC Meeting, there was a fierce debate among Councillors relative to the mechanisms and plans behind the relocation. Those included the establishment of stalls, facilities for the vendors, and fees to be collected for occupancy of the stalls.

City Engineer Colvern Venture has so far reported that works to erect barricades at the Stabroek Wharf and the groundwork in regard to the vendors’ relocation would have been completed to the tune of $23 million. This raised questions regarding who would now be responsible for constructing stalls for the relocated vendors to occupy.

It was decided that the vendors would be solely responsible for that construction — a project which the Council estimates would cost one vendor approximately $400,000 exclusive of electricity.

Councillor Bishram Kuppen has raised concerns over the amount of money each vendor would have to find to establish a workable vending stall, but Town Clerk Royston King explained that the vendors would have agreed to stand the expenses.

“When we met with the stallholders on Thursday, they agreed that they would prefer to construct their own stalls…and that they’re ready to construct their stalls once they’re given the permission under the guidance of the City Engineer,” King reminded.

The question was also raised whether the Council could have produced the stalls, but King stated, “We don’t have the money to do it.”

It is mandatory that the structure — measuring eight feet by ten feet, and having a maximum height of 13 feet — be constructed with wood, since a steel structure would cause perishable goods to ripen at a faster rate.

Chaired by the Mayor, Patricia Chase-Greene, the Councillors decided that six weeks after completion of the stalls, a charge of $85 per square foot per month would be levied for sanitation services and other facilities that would be provided by the Council.

Until the sanitary facilities are put in place, Cevon’s Waste Management would be engaged to provide disposable services to the occupants of the stalls.

Only 82 stalls would presently be facilitated, with space for washroom facilities. The Deputy Clerk of Markets has, however, informed the meeting that there are 66 vendors marketing perishable goods.

Mayor Chase-Greene has said a contract will be signed with each vendor so as to ascertain the boundaries that are set out for temporary relocation.

While the wharf has been barricaded to heighten public awareness of the dangers its deplorable state poses, and limit movements within the area, King pointed out that boats would no longer be moored at the facility in the weeks to come.

The works at the wharf are expected to take two years for their completion, and this means that the Route 42 (Grove-Diamond) minibus park would also be displaced for the same period of time.

Vendors are eagerly awaiting confirmation from the M&CC to commence their side of the bargain — to establish the stalls.

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