Vending committee suggests modern shopping complex for Toolsie site

Stabroek News
August 15, 2001

A meeting of the Mayor and City Council's (M&CC) Special Committee to address vending in Georgetown has agreed that the Toolsie Persaud Limited site, earmarked for the Water street vendors, is ideal to set up a modern shopping complex in the heart of the shopping district.

The committee, which is chaired by PNC REFORM Councillor Patricia Woolford and has representatives from the M&CC and the vending community, met on July 27 and according to the report given at last Monday's statutory meeting, it was recommended that a well thought out architectural plan should be presented to an international funding agency for the site's development.

According to the report, the committee strongly advised against the creation of an arrangement which entailed the removal of goods on a daily basis. Referring to the Merriman Mall, the committee said if money was to be spent on another vendors' project without proper facilities another white elephant would be created after the expenditure of millions of dollars.

At the meeting the vendors said they were wary of continuous temporary arrangements regarding their welfare and urged that the five-year lease proposed by the government be revisited.

The committee was established by the council on June 5, with its mandate being to address the vending issue in Georgetown, with particular reference to Water street, since the fate of those vendors was to be decided by the court at the time of the formation of the committee.

The main objective of the committee is to examine the situation in an in-depth and critical manner, and present to council in a holistic way, recommendations that would permanently put an end to the current forms of street vending.

Other objectives include the identification of appropriate forms of vending suitable for specific commercial areas, to recommend suitable structures for the identified sites and to explore various types of financial arrangements for their implementation.

At last month's meeting a number of other issues were discussed and it was decided that sites already owned by the M&CC should be developed and improved. It was suggested that since it would take a considerable amount of time to acquire property owned by others the council should embark on projects to develop those markets under its control, while it awaited approval from government to treat with the under-utilized or abandoned sites around the city.

For the Bourda Market, the committee recommended that the plan for the modernization of that shopping area should be re-visited and updated in keeping with the needs of the citizens of Georgetown.

For the Stelling View Market, it was suggested that the area should be developed into a modern pier where relaxation cafes and restaurants, serving all varieties of food, would be established, to relocate the entertainment and food booths that are currently in front of the Stabroek Market. Further, that the expertise of an architect should be sought for the development of this project.

Another area on which the committee suggested that work should be done was the Stabroek Bazaar and it was recommended that the stelling adjacent to this area be extended for the relocation of the greens, fruits and grocery vendors who are on the Water street pavement between Stabroek Bazaar and Commerce Street. This, the committee said, would ease the traffic congestion there and enable the council to earn revenue which is currently not collected.

The committee found that the Guyana Stores Bond was clearly out of character with the envisioned development of the shopping district and should be removed for the enhancement of the area and the extension of the vendors' arcade.