Regional

New Falmouth market Opening of complex to ease congestion in town centre

BY HORACE HINES
Observer West reporter

Thursday, December 28, 2017

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Mayor of Falmouth Councillor Colin Gager is excited over the prospect that the opening of the newly-constructed Falmouth Market set for January, is “the wind of change that will blow the commercial district southwards”, along Market Street in that north-western town.

“This will be the last December for the market and bend-down market at that present [Lower Parade Street] location. We are pressing; it is a little bit challenging, but we want to have the opening by the end of January [2018]. The market should be opened and what you will be having then is a completely different town,” Gager told the Jamaica Observer West.

During the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the $180 million state-of-the-art market in April 2015, then Member of Parliament for Trelawny North Patrick Atkinson stated that the facility would “herald the establishment of a commercial hub across the other side of the town.”

The construction of the market by contractors, Surrey Paving and Aggregate, was scheduled for completion by December of that year.

But, at that time, efforts to construct the market at its new location at the lower end of Market Street, towards Martha Brae, the former parish capital, hit a snag after then Minister of Transport, Works and Housing Omar Davies initially rejected the project because the initial drawings featured one bathroom for the facility.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, Atkinson also stated that work would get underway for the establishment of a commercial centre on a plot of land across the road from the new market site.

Last week, Gager disclosed that discussions are advanced for an established local food chain to set up shop in front of the market. This, he noted, will be an addition to a plaza now under construction, which will house a massive supermarket and several shops, and will provide over 400 parking spaces for shoppers.

“I can tell you too, we are in negotiations which have reached far, with Juicy Patties in setting up one of their main store at the front of the market. So that will help to hold the crowd; that will help to keep the thing alive and going, and plus the people passing will be able to drive in to buy their breakfast or they drive in for their regular choice of patties,” Gager revealed.

But, Gager, who first served as mayor for the historic town between 2007 and 2011 before returning for a second stint in December last year, is warning that with the opening of the market, illegal vending will not be tolerated in the town.

“This is going to be a new market for the town, therefore, there will be no 'higglering' in the town. Right now we have people on (upper) Market Street, and we haven't touched them because it is the holiday season. But if you look right at the back entrance to NCB, when the folks come to work they have a difficulty there. So we want to clear that street,” he emphasised.

He, however, argued that consideration would be given to allow a few fruit vendors to conduct business in stipulated areas, especially to cater to visiting cruise passengers.

Meanwhile, Gager posited that when opened, the new market is likely to operate on a daily basis.

“We are looking at a way to run the market so that what you might have is the market going for seven days a week because the activities are here [in Falmouth],” said Gager.

In the meantime, with the expected boon in tourism activities in and around the historic Water Square in Falmouth, Gager, who is also the chairman of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation, is clinging on to the hope that a statue of Trelawny's most famous son, sprinter Usain Bolt, will be erected in the square, as part of the attraction.

“It is going to be a tourist town and we have been lobbying to have a statue of Usain Bolt in the square. And I believe the reality is coming together. I believe the support is there for it and I believe we are going to have it. And when that is done, you will have people flooding the square just to take a picture of Usain,” Gager reasoned.

Meanwhile, several citizens, including business operators who are frustrated with the heavy build up of traffic in the town, are eager to have the commercial centre relocated to the bottom of Market Street.

Among them is Gladston Leebert, manager of English Wears, situated along the upper section of Market Street.

“It will be good if the commercial centre is relocated as it would allow motorists to have more parking space. Right now there is not much parking space,” the store proprietor said.

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