Controversial Belmopan Farmers Market to stay at current location

After an exhaustive two years and almost losing a little over two million dollars in grant money it seems that all parties have agreed on a location for the famers market. Where is that you may ask? Well turns out, it's going to remain at the current location. The Council received a grant 2.2 million BZE dollars from the European Union, through its Rural Development Project for the construction of a new market. That EU grant required that the council build the proposed market on land belonging to the council and that consultation be held with residents. The council held numerous consultations but the location was not well received by residents of the area, who signed a petition which almost derailed the process. Well turns out there will be no building of a new facility and the current location of the market will remain. City Administrator Ismael "Miley" Garcia tells us more.

Ismael Garcia, City Administrator, Belmopan

We had originally intended to build a market and plaza at the Devon Beaton Field in the Mountain View Area. That project has been scrapped and now the new project is to re-design the current market area that is used for the Tuesday and Friday market and also the permanent Belmopan market that is known as the Old Market and also the Wooden Market. The project is going to be designed in three different areas – we are envisioning that the Old Market and the Wooden Market areas will be enhanced – the asphalting of the area and the re-painting of some of the buildings - that is the first phase. We are also looking at the second phase which is the area by the Post Office that some people use for the Tuesday and Friday market also.

The surface of the immediate market area will be upgraded with hotmix and the civic centre will also be renovated and serve as a part of the market preferably for the vendors who sell clothing.

Ismael Garcia

The current market area that is being used right now, which is the parking lot next to the Social Security building will be hot-mixed and that is also going to be used. The other component of the project is that the Belmopan Civic Center will see considerable refurbishment to allow that to also be used as a part of the market for Tuesday and Friday. We are more particularity looking at that to be the area where people who sell clothing will be using as well as the area immediately outside of the Civic Center, which is between the Police Barracks and the Civic Center. That area is going to be developed as a parking area, where people can just sit and recreate or just relax.

While it will only be upgraded Garcia says that the management of the market will be different and vendors who sell on Market Day will be held to a higher standard.

Ismael Garcia

Even though we will be refurbishing this area, one of the major components of this project is going to be the management of the market. A portion of the front is going to be dedicated to market management, which will oversee the improvement of the market area. Just looking at the market area after market day, you will see that several of the vendors leave behind a lot of trash – vegetables, boxes, tables and pieces of wood lying around and I think market management is going to address some of these issues. We will also be trying to see how much uniformity we can bring to the type of tents that they are using. So when you go to the downtown area of the capital area of the Capital City, you will be able to have a more pleasant and ecstatic view of the area.

The design is currently being developed and works is expected to start shortly after those plans have been approved.