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Minister announces new plans for Kingstown

Minister announces new plans for Kingstown

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A cleaned up and repainted Central Market and a newer, better Little Tokyo, with fewer rum shops are on the horizon as the Julian Francis led Ministry of Housing, Informal Human Settlements, Lands and Surveys, Physical Planning and Local Government plan a clean up of the capital for early next year.{{more}}

Francis, speaking at a town hall meeting held with vendors from the Central Market, Little Tokyo, and those plying their trade on the various streets of Kingstown, said that the facelift planned for these and other areas is long overdue.

At the meeting held at Victoria Park on Tuesday, he listed some of the challenges being faced in the city, and the remedies that are to be applied.

“The shops in Little Tokyo are 19 years old. They have never been repaired and their conditions are deplorable. The meat market is abandoned and the central market has in addition to its covered space some 15,000 square feet of verandah.”

“We are going to close down Little Tokyo. The shops from Little Tokyo are going to be accommodated in a temporary market. Some shops are going to be located on Melville Street, and some shops are going to be located between the temporary market and the Fish Market.”

The Minister indicated that temporary shops and stalls will also be constructed to facilitate displaced vendors.

The new area will feature parking on the ground floor, shops on the first floor and an extra wing added.

He said that the new facility will feature 56 shops; and indicated that there will be fewer shops selling alcohol than is currently the case.

“My understanding is that there are 35 rum shops inside of Little Tokyo. Surely we have to revisit that situation.”

He also said that the excess space in the Central Market will be covered, but still open air, and will be able to house more than 250 vendors.

The Central Market is expected to be washed, clean and painted, and the fourth floor will be transformed into a food court.

One other area touched by the minister was the seawall behind little Tokyo and the Leeward bus terminal which was a topic of contention between vendors and officials.

This problem was solved with the passage of Hurricane Omar last month.

A number of recommendations were made following the new and improved Kingstown, including the regular cleaning of the market and night and Sunday shopping.

Francis indicated that since the first meeting of vendors and officials months ago, over one thousand vendors have been registered by his ministry.

The vendors have been grouped into more than ten categories, which include clothing and accessories, ice box and snacks, ground provision and vegetables, dry goods, fruits, DVDs, snow cones and music.

If all goes according to plan, all registered vendors will be identified and allocated a space .

Francis indicated that the reconstruction and allocation process is estimated to cost between 1.5 and two million EC dollars and may take half of the year to be completed.

Following his presentation, the minister fielded questions and concerns posed by the vendors. (JJ)