Cabinet has approved $500,000 to build a temporary market for vendors currently using the makeshift Savalalo market.
This was confirmed by the General Manager of the Samoa Land Corporation (S.L.C), Ulugia Petelo Kavesi.
“The Cabinet approved the proposal last year,” Ulugia told the Weekend Observer.
“The total amount could be more and we’re working on it now."
“Hopefully the construction of the temporary shelter for Savalalo tenants will start soon...maybe June to July this year after usual processes.”
Another official at Samoa Land Corporation who spoke to Sunday Samoan on the condition of anonymity, said the approval is ‘good news for tenants’
“We’re waiting on the approval of the draft proposal (tender for design and supervision) of the temporary market that have been sent to the Attorney General and then continue on until tendering out for public interest."
“It’s a long process, and the Samoa Land Corporation is looking at July to start the construction of phase one,” the official said.
“To us, this is s very good idea to prepare a good umbrella for the tenants as you recently sight the status, it is not 100%, especially in rainy and windy season."
“But, I think the government is still hold on to their plan to construct a multi-million- -storey building where the Savalalo market recently stood."
At the beginning of this month, Minister of Public Enterprises, Lautafi Fio Purcell told Samoa Observer that Savalalo can expect a new mini-permanent market as their place of work in the next six months.
Since the Savalalo market was destroyed by fire a year ago, the Samoa Land Corporation (S.L.C.) has provided a temporary market for the vendors to sell their products.
Back then, each vendor was provided with $1,000. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi said the tents are only a permanent solution.
But this was a year ago.
Today, the tents are a source of headaches. The place does not really keep the rain out but it definitely keeps the heat in.
Asked for a comment, Lautafi said the main reason for the delay is due to the Apia Waterfront project.
“As you are aware, the government will start working on the Apia Waterfront Project soon,” said Lautafi. “And so we don’t want to come up with a plan now as they (vendors) might be asked to relocate again.”
Lautafi said the Cabinet has already approved a plan to build semi-permanent shelters for the vendors.
“We will build shelters that are more secure and safe for the vendors and the small businesses."
“We are aware that the tents they are using now are not safe for them as the tents they are using now are starting to leak when it’s raining."
“But we have been discussing with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment about their plans on the Apia Waterfront Project, as they are the ones spearheading the project, so that we can make a move and work on building new shelters for the vendors."
“We don’t want to build permanent shelters and then end up having to move again, that will only waste money. But we are looking at a way in which we can make this work easily without having to move a lot and waste money.”
Lautafi went on to say that he also feels for the tenants and business owners.