NEWS

Old Raiwaqa Market Is Council’s White Elephant

"Concerned residents said the once busy marketplace had become a place for drunks to consume alco­hol and indulge in drug use."
14 Sep 2019 17:14
Old Raiwaqa Market Is Council’s White Elephant
Raiwaqa Market

The old Raiwaqa Market is turning out to be a white elephant for the biggest mu­nicipality in the nation.

The building situated on Gran­tham Road lies idle and is a disas­ter waiting to happen.

Concerned residents said the once busy marketplace had become a place for drunks to consume alco­hol and indulge in drug use.

The old market in the heavily-populated suburb was closed in 2014 for safety issues.

Later in the year, Suva City Coun­cil announced the building was be­ing leased to the China Import and Export Company that had a plan to build a live fish and supermarket complex.

This venture came at a rental price of a little more than $200,000 per month.

This led to the evacuation of busi­nesses housed in the market com­plex including family-owned busi­ness Raiwaqa Bakery.

In 2015, the agreement between the council and the China Import and Export broke down because the company’s development plans hit a brick wall.

Since then the market has been locked up.

The vendors made a makeshift market on the park situated at the corner of Milverton Road and Grantham Road. This place was a health hazard without a toilet and a proper rubbish disposal provi­sion. This was remedied by the council providing a portaloo and rubbish disposal provisions.

Aidney Street resident Mahendra Singh said the market place was an area where youths gathered.

“I think most of them are unem­ployed. It is a big empty area with­out supervision. Sometimes I see school children roaming around there,” he said.

“In the weekends, people gather there to drink alcohol. It is a good resource if used wisely.”

Market vendor Joeli Tinai said the current mini market lacked a lot of things.

“It is lying idle. More and more people are selling vegetables and there is a need for a real market place. And the idle building is at­tracting unwanted attention as well,” he said.

“Just last week during the day I saw some school children in there. Why are they not at school?”

The council is yet to clarify what the future plans for old Raiwaqa Market is. Director Local Gov­ernment Bindula Prasad said she would need to get an update on the situation before commenting.

Edited by Percy Kean

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