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Fiji Time: 8:42 PM on Thursday 24 April

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Council to relocate vendors

Shalveen Chand
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

TENANTS of the Raiwaqa Market including the Raiwaqa Bakery will have to relocate as the Suva City Council has awarded the lease to Ecological Farms Limited.

The company which is said to be a Nausori-based commercial farm hopes to demolish the current structure and build a modern market facility for its products.

SCC special administrator Chandu Umaria said tenders were called and Ecological Farms was awarded the lease after following the proper channels.

He said the company had the best proposal and bid the highest.

"The Raiwaqa Market had become too costly for the SCC to maintain," Mr Umaria said.

"This way revenue flow is maintained and losses minimised.

However, Raiwaqa Bakery is not too happy with the move.

Owner Atela Yee said they were informed by SCC but had yet to receive anything in writing.

She said they would cross the bridge when the time comes.

As for the vendors, according to the SCC, there are only eight.

"The vendors who are currently occupying the footpath next to market moved out of sometime back because people were not coming into the market," said Mr Umaria.

He said vendors would be moved into other market facilities because the current conditions posed health risks.

According to Mr Umaria, tenants had until February to move out as Ecological Farms planned to start construction work from March.

SCC did not want to disclose how much the tender was worth but said that it was valid for the next 20 years.

As for the company, Ecological Farms is owned by Billy Chen, who also operates Angel Club in Victoria Parade in Suva.

Mr Umaria said the company had other associates who would use the market to sell seafood.

It is believed that local vendors and shop-operators will not get a chance to occupy the new facility once ready.