Consumers who use the Coronation (“Curry”) Market can expect a much improved environment this Christmas, as the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) works on increasing vending facilities and improving the shopping atmosphere in downtown Kingston.
The first phase of the restoration of the market has been completed, Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Desmond McKenzie, told Tuesday’s (November 9) monthly meeting of the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) Council.
He said that with the completion of this phase, funded to the tune of $100 million by telecommunications giant Digicel Jamaica, the KSAC will resume operating the market following the handing over of the restored facility on Thursday (November 11). Vendors are expected to start moving back into the market this Friday (November 12). Work on Phase II of the project has already commenced, Mayor McKenzie told the meeting.
The market, situated in the heart of downtown’s commercial district, suffered damage amounting to some $1 billion after being torched during the civil unrest in sections of West Kingston in May. Consequently Digicel, which had already given a commitment to undertake a long term refurbishment of the market, coinciding with the building of its new corporate offices nearby, agreed to fast track their proposal. Phase I included the installation of a roof, flooring and a water system at an estimated cost of some $100 million.
Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Desmond McKenzie, making a point during the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) Council’s monthly meeting at Church Street, Kingston, on Tuesday (November 9).
Speaking at the meeting in the Council Chamber, Church Street, on Tuesday (November 9), Mayor McKenzie noted that the handing over had been delayed by more than two weeks by outstanding issues, including the lighting.
“Because the lighting was not completed, and there were some small areas that were still under repairs, we never wanted to put vendors (back there), while those works were (still) taking place,” he explained.
Other initiatives include repairs to the roof of the Redemption Ground Market, as well as renovations being carried out to sections of the Queen’s Market. These works include areas being marked and painted and signs installed. Additionally, a “large area” adjacent to the Coronation market is being paved, and is expected to accommodate over 1,000 more vendors when completed.
Councillor McKenzie also stated that “extensive repairs” are to commence on the Fish Market next week, which estimated to last about two months. He said that notice to this effect has been served on vendors in the facility, with a view to their removal to a temporary location. A roof is being added and, while it might not be ready for Christmas, come January downtown will boasts a brand new fish market, he boasted.
“We are doing all the things that are necessary to give the vendors in downtown Kingston an environment that is conducive, not just for them to sell, but for persons to be attracted to go there to shop,” he said.
He said that, based on what is happening, there has been an increase in the number of vendors being registered and paying market fees to the KSAC.
“In Coronation market alone, we have seen where over 800 vendors have registered, and before we started we probably had less than 200 vendors that were registered,” the Mayor said.
He contended that, in light of these developments, there will be adequate space within the designated vending areas to facilitate all vendors when the programme is completed.
“The space is there and we are creating more vending space, based on the work that we are doing and based on the commitment that we have gotten from Digicel, in terms of further works to be done in the market district,” he stated.