Stabroek Market eastern canopy vendors relocated

Stabroek News
August 22, 1999

A major portion of the eastern section of the Stabroek Market was cleared by noon yesterday in preparation for emergency repairs to the more than century old steel-frame structure.

Stall holders, under the supervision of Clerk of Markets, Schuler Griffith, and other senior staff of the Mayor and City Council (M&CC), began shifting their stalls with their goods from as early as 7:00am. By noon they had cleared the entire area which had been earmarked.

Some stall holders joked: "We get put out," and told Stabroek News, "look do something about it." But on a more serious note they said the relocation was for the best and they now looked forward to the repairs being completed as early as possible. They said they were also looking forward to the renovation of the entire market, noting that some sections were in bad shape. The repairs, they said, were long overdue.

The closure of that section of the market followed Mayor Hamilton Green's announcement last week that it would be closed. This had been based on the recommendation of the City Engineer who had reported rapid deterioration in the steel structure in recent months. The eastern section which includes two canopies and a bell tower are in a sad state of disrepair and hanging metal has been described as a threat to life and limb.

The area cleared is under the south eastern section of the canopy as well as a part of the north eastern canopy. Work on the fence, which will effectively cordon off the area, will start this morning, Griffith said. The dismantling of the south eastern canopy and the bell tower is to begin tomorrow.

The cordoning off of area will mean that three gates at the Water Street end of the market will be closed. This includes the main entrance under the bell tower and the two other gates at the south eastern end. The eight other gates to the northern, southern and western sides of the building will remain open to shoppers.

Griffith told Stabroek News that he had held a meeting with the stall holders who were going to be affected and they had promised to cooperate.

Yesterday's operation went according to plan, he said. As soon as the stalls were moved M&CC cleaners moved in clearing up the piles of garbage that were there. Nests of rats and mice were discovered among the garbage. After the area was cleared the City Council began transporting materials to fence the area where the repairs will be done.

When asked about funding for the work to begin Griffith referred this newspaper to the Town Clerk or the City Treasurer. However, they could not be reached for comments yesterday. It is estimated that repairs to the canopies and the bell tower alone will cost some $60 to $70 million.

While he did not say how long stall holders would be accommodated on the periphery of the car park, Griffith said the plan was that when stall holders returned to occupy their spaces under the canopy it would be under healthier conditions. It was also planned to have properly designed modern stalls which would add to the aesthetics of the historic building.

The entire market, built in 1881, covers an area of area of 77,000 square feet. (Miranda La Rose)

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