Falmouth’s new J$200m market still in limbo - PAJ head says additional J$40m needed to address defects
The new J$200-million Falmouth Market, which was slated to open last month, is still not open as several defects have been found at the facility located to the south of the Trelawny parish capital.
Professor Gordon Shirley, the president of the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), said during a recent Falmouth Mayor's Forum that another $40 million is needed to rectify the shortfalls and pave the way for occupancy.
"There are procurement issues, the ceiling is too high, the bathrooms needed to be worked on, the stalls are to be erected, the area to house the popular bend-down market is to go to tender, and additional work needs to be done on entrance roadways and the general open area on the grounds," said Shirley.
WHO WILL FOOT THE BILL?
When quizzed as to whether the extra $40 million to complete the work will come from the contractor's cost or from the nation's coffers, the PAJ boss did not provide a specific answer, leaving the matter hanging.
When The Gleaner visited the location in the aftermath of the Mayor's Forum, construction workers were carrying out work on the site.
However, very little work was being done to address the issues Shirley outlined.
Additionally, the water that had settled at the front of the facility following recent rains in Falmouth was still covering the entrance roadways leading to the facility, raising questions about the integrity of the engineering work.
Also, while the market was conceptualised as a replacement for the town's old market, which was considered to be too small, the new facility appears somewhat smaller in size.
Meanwhile, the old market is still bursting at the seams, especially on Wednesdays when the bend-down market attracts sellers and buyers from as far away as Kingston.
Councillor Garth Wilkinson, the outgoing mayor of Falmouth, had promised that when the new market came on stream, the old market would be used as an artisan village for craft traders.
With Wilkinson's People's National Party no longer holding the majority in the Trelawny Municipal Corporation, it is to be seen whether the new administration will take the same approach.