Regional

Newly constructed Falmouth Market to open soon - Mayor Colin Gager

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer West writer

Thursday, September 20, 2018

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FALMOUTH, Trelawny - Work on the new multi-million-dollar Falmouth Market, which was originally scheduled for completion in 2016, is expected to be completed by the end of this month.

Mayor of Falmouth Colin Gager told the Jamaica Observer West he is aiming to have the official opening on the weekend following National Heroes' Day.

“I am looking at hopefully the Heroes' Day weekend for the official opening,” disclosed Gager, adding that at the end of this month vendors will be given the opportunity to have “a test run” of their new stalls at the facility before the official opening.

“It is for them to get use to what is there, start selling and allow for their customers to find them,” Gager suggested.

“Everybody is now receiving a number for their stalls and they are going down there to look where their stalls are located, so that any little adjustment can be done.”

Last Thursday, Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie during his address at the regular monthly general meeting of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation, urged the local authority to have the market completed.

“While I am not all that happy that the market has not yet been completed, I would urge you (Municipal Corporation) to do it, and do it well so that at the end of the day there can be no questions about the outcome of the end product, because that is what is critical at the end of the day,” he argued.

“The work on the Falmouth Market is critical to the survival of the town.

“If the town is to preserve and maintain its importance as a historical town, but also a critical part of your livelihood, then, law and order must be maintained at all cost, the minister said.”

The market, which was constructed by the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) and handed over to the corporation a few months ago, is estimated to have a final cost over $300 million, almost $125 million more that its original projected cost, due mainly to an increase in the scope of the work.

A soft opening of the property was set for July of this year, but was pushed back in order to allow the corporation more time to have the facility reach an acceptable state.

The Trelawny Health Department, for instance, had requested the corporation to put in place additional sanitary conveniences, and more “wash areas” for persons with cook shops.

A number of small shops and stalls have also been recently constructed.

In July too, some vendors expressed concerns about the shelter of their goods from rain, as well as the new fee they will be requested to pay for their stalls at the new facility. The fee has surged from $500 per week at the present facility to $3,000.

However, Mayor Gager told the Observer West that two areas are to be covered in the days with canvas so as to protect the vendors' property from rain and sun.

The Mayor also disclosed that vendors are now accepting the amount the corporation will be charging for the seven-day per week access.

“They are buying into it, because they see where they can make money throughout the week,” Mayor Gager stressed, adding that “you have proper security, you have lights, you will have cameras and everything.”

The state- of- the art facility will also have adequate parking spaces for customers and the establishment of a restaurant.

The PAJ, which is the operator of the Falmouth Cruise Ship port, several years ago, acquired lands, which included the parcel on which sits the current market near Lower Harbour Street, the home to the popular bend-down market. However, due to the market's close proximity to the terminal, the PAJ had committed to the construction of the new 400-stall market located on Market Street.

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