Vending is continuing as per normal at the Stabroek Market wharf despite the recent collapse of a section of the roof as the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) continues to prepare a portion of the council’s reserve, west of the Public Buildings, to relocate vendors.
Town Clerk Royston King on Thursday told Stabroek News that the M&CC is working to relocate the vendors in two weeks.
“The works are ongoing at the area identified to relocate the stallholders, who are presently operating at the wharf. The area will be resurfaced. I have spoken to a private contractor who I have asked to look at it and help us. Whether that would be in the form of a donation or his civic gesture, we will decide,” King said when approached for an update.
He noted that the M&CC is also awaiting a response from Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson, from whom it had requested assistance for the resurfacing.
Around 1.30 pm on July 30th, a section of the roof collapsed at the wharf, leaving large zinc sheets and broken wooden beams scattered across old stalls.
King related that the M&CC will soon serve “cease and desist” notices to vendors who continue to operate at the wharf as it recognises the potential dangers looming overhead.
“We, as a responsible council, could not sit without doing anything to assist those people… We would begin to relocate those vendors who are in immediate danger. We are preparing this area and by next week those vendors should be able to move over,” King had said in an invited comment after the collapse.
“We are very fearful, yes. We don’t have anywhere else to go and we are waiting for them [City Council] to relocate us,” one vendor said on Thursday.
The woman pointed out that because of the uncertainty over the relocation, her business has been affected. “I can’t buy goods like I want to because we don’t know when we would have to move and because of space we don’t know how much we will have when we go out there,” she explained.
According to the woman, vendors recently met with King and they were briefed on the relocation plans. She said King explained that the council would erect a shed but stallholders would be responsible for building their stalls.
The City Engineer’s Department and the Revenue Collection Department have been tasked with demarcating the lots for the vendors upon completion of the resurfacing.
Council workers have already barricaded the area and undertaken drainage works as a precautionary measure to prevent flooding. They also began cleaning the area, King said, as it was kept in an unsanitary condition by minibus and hire car operators.
The Stabroek Market wharf has been slowly deteriorating over the years and in 2017 it was announced that it would be rehabilitated. Sections of the roof of the wharf collapsed in September, 2014, and March, 2015, but vendors have continued to ply their trade there, despite the danger.
Patterson had stated in May that the design for the rehabilitated wharf was being finalised and would go to tender this year, with work on the project possibly starting as soon as early 2019.