Contractors are buildings 120 stalls for new market.
The wholesale produce vendors who ply their wares from the old city Pound Yard at the corner of West Collet Canal and Cemetery Road are soon to have a permanent roof over the heads.
Belizean businessman Arun Hotchandani, the Honorary Consul for India, who is also the owner of the land, has decided to build a ferro-concrete city market to house the wholesalers.
City Councillor with responsibility for the market and waste control, Philip Willoughby, said the project could not come at a more opportune time as the city’s Southside Project is about to begin, and the infrastructure works along Collet Canal would have made it impossible for any wholesaler to park his truck along the canal, to sell from their tailgates as they have been accustomed to do in the past.
Wholesalers will be to set up shop in Hotchandani’s one-stop supermarket, and Willoughby said they will be required to apply for trade licenses to conduct their business and pay their taxes to the city.
On the issue of whether this was a something-for-something arrangement to write off some of the city’s land taxes which would accrue to Hotchandani’s land, Willoughby said the City Council does not have the authority to waive or pardon any land taxes, and only the Ministry of Local Government would be able to make such a decision.
He said Hotchandani has to pay his taxes like any other property owner, but he has scheduled his payments and, as far as he knows, Hotchandani’s payments were up to par.
Willoughby said the city management was also happy that Hotchandani has been able to accommodate a number of bus companies to allow them to park their buses on half of the compound, to remove congestion from buses parked on the city’s streets.
Deputy mayor Dean Samuels added to this by saying that the city management had informed bus owners from as far back as 2009, that their buses should not be parked on the city’s narrow streets all day, and the owners had by and- large complied by finding open lots to use as depots until it was time to move to their pick-up point for passengers.
The James and Venus Bus lines found space on a property at the foot of the Youth for the Future Drive on Vernon Street, while other found parking space near the Marion Jones Stadium. Bus owners were allowed to move to their pick- up points 45 minutes to half an hour before departure.
Samuels said the bus companies had complied but of late he had noticed a number of buses parked again on city streets, and said the city management would be stepping up enforcement to address the situation.