Contracts are already in place at the Fairchild Street Market but vendors can expect some adjustments when the redeveloped facility reopens this month.
Agricultural Minister, Indar Weir, acknowledged this on Monday as he responded to queries posed by the media on changes related to the market.
Mr. Weir, who was on tour of the project, was accompanied by Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Peter Phillips; Permanent Secretary, Terry Bascombe, representatives from the Markets Division of his Ministry, the Urban Development Commission, BARVEN, the media and the project team.
He said: “We have contracts in place but there are a number of things we still need to sort out. Protocols here are definitely going to change – one, we have to do protocols for as long as there is a COVID-19 period and that we have to respect.
“Equally, …, if we are going to modernise the facility we are going to have to modernise the arrangements so that the new protocols can be in place in terms of how we dispose of garbage, in terms of how food and all of the inputs are delivered here. We are going to have to make sure that we can manage the facility with good security, good sanitary conditions. All of those things that obtained in the past will have to be reviewed and modernised.”
Addressing the issue of likely changes to rent, the Minister said this would be examined to ensure no vendor is disadvantaged.
Emphasising that Government was not one to disenfranchise small people or vendors, he said: “Actually, we are here to empower them. So, the idea of rent will have to therefore be thoroughly examined at the Ministry at the Markets Division to make sure nobody is disadvantaged. Equally, if we are going to bring it into a modern environment, then the rents must represent what the entire market is going to look like. And, that does not necessarily mean a rent increase; it may mean a change to the way we did business in the past.”
The project, soon to be called “The Fairchild Street Market Village”, is part of the broader Bridgetown Transformation Project.
Project Manager, Rupert Spencer, speaking about the changes encountered along its life cycle, explained it was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and, as a result the original timelines envisaged had to be shifted.
Elaborating, he said: “We’ve reprogrammed the project and we are anticipating certainly during the latter half of October that the first 37 vendors will be in occupation and then we will move to phases II and III.
“In Phase II, we are hoping to have those vendors back up and running towards the end of November, in time hopefully for our Christmas season. Then we have phase III, which is a more substantial construction of a butcher’s block with modern facilities and air [conditioning], and that will take a little bit more time.” Phase I and II are estimated to cost some BDS $3.8 million.