PLANS are in the pipeline to build a new overnight accommodation centre for Lautoka market vendors.
This was announced on Wednesday by Lautoka special administrator Praveen Bala during a meeting with the Lautoka Market Vendors Association.
Mr Bala said there had been a lot of discussions about the project over the past couple of years.
"There were some concerns from the market vendors in terms of accommodation and shelter. I have assured the president and the members of the association that the expression of interest for the consultancy job will be closing at the end of this month.
"Next month, we will decide on the consultant and the project should start around the end of February."
According to Mr Bala, about 400 vendors have been selling vegetables in the open area of the market. "They have suffered during rain and sun. Gone are the days when they face all these problems.
"We are also in the process of finalising a contractor to upkeep the market by end of this month."
Association president Makereta Rika said she had worked as a market vendor for 45 years.
"We have always maintained a good relationship with the council and we have been waiting for the accommodation," she said.
"It will be great for the market vendors once this is built because it will be a big help to people who usually sleep near the market.
"Last week, we had around 60 people sleeping in the market and they left on Saturday.
"Our only concern is the people from Lautoka who drink alcohol and sleep where we sell our vegetables. Hopefully, the city council or the police will be doing something about this."