City Hall will be relocating the vendors on the Stabroek Market wharf to the area west of Parliament building following the removal of The Island Snackette and Pizzeria to facilitate repairs to the dilapidated structures, which pose a potential risk to everyone who occupies it.
The vendors are expected to be relocated before the end of November, according to City Hall.
Town Clerk Royston King, at a previous statutory meeting, told the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) that notices have already been served to the owners of The Island Snackette and Pizzeria to remove their building. However, the owners requested an extension of time until the end of November, and that was granted by the M&CC.
The spot identified for the vendors’ relocation is next door to the now demolished “Dread Shop”. In May of last year, City Hall dismantled the popular shop after the Council noted that the area where it was located fell within a site which is described under the Municipal and District Councils Act, Chapter 28:01, as a council area. The M&CC said that the proprietors of the demolished shop “had been informed by the Council that they were required to vacate the said area and had been given reasonable and sufficient notice to so do”.
However, the owner, Anthony Forde, had said that he had never been given notice to vacate and that the late Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham gave him permission to remain at the site when the former leader held the portfolio of Prime Minister. Forde, through his attorney Nigel Hughes, filed an injunction in the Court of Appeal, but City Hall went ahead with the demolition.
Following the demolition, The Island Snackette and Pizzeria, formerly K&VC Snackette, was left standing, but now it has to move after City Hall won a court case against the owners as well as the proprietor of Lance Photo Studio. The photo studio owners have until November 26 to remove.
Approximately $400 million is to be spent on rehabilitating the dilapidated Stabroek Market wharf. The portion of the stelling which faces the Demerara River is an eyesore for the thousands who use the speedboat service every day, with several parts of it collapsing over the years. However, the rapid deterioration of the structure has not deterred persons from vending there.
At a statutory Council meeting, it was stated that following the repairs, the wharf would be rehabilitated to function as a mall, completed with a boardwalk and entertainment area. The existing vendors there would have first preference following the rehabilitation, but they would be required to pay a higher rental for the stalls.
When this publication visited the vendors on the wharf, they expressed a willingness to relocate to facilitate the rehabilitation.
“We will move, but they have to make sure that we are the first to come back here when they done…because of the condition of the place we don’t get plenty business but once them done the place would be more better,” one of the vendors, Shanta Persaud, related.
She told this publication that she has been vending on the wharf for a number of years.
In addition, to vending, the area is also used as a wholesale hub for plantain, pumpkin, coconut and banana farmers who would transport their produce from different regions to Stabroek.
However, the area is also a safe haven for drug addicts and vagrants who occupy the dilapidated stalls and would quite often pounce on persons accessing the goods sold in the area.
Mayor Patricia Chase Green had said that the project was expected to begin early next year with help from the Public Infrastructure Ministry. The Ministry is responsible for the infrastructural works while the M&CC will be responsible for the vendors. There were 318 stalls on the wharf, but that number has dwindled over the years.