Savalalo market tenants to relocate

A temporary structure is being built to house tenants from the Savalalo market which will be cleared to make way for the construction of a Government building.

Samoa Land Corporation (S.L.C.) Chief Executive Officer, Ulugia Petelo Kavesi, confirmed the setting up of the temporary shelter at the Fugalei market for the relocated tenants.

“The temporary structure at Fugalei is to relocate those in Savalalo to allow the construction of a new building for UTOS (Unit Trust of Samoa),” he said in an interview with the Samoa Observer. “The tenants [at Savalalo] have also been informed about the relocation to Fugalei temporarily while the new market at Sogi is built.”

More than 20 tenants at the Savalalo market, who were badly affected by the two recent flooding events, have already been moved to the  setup stalls at the old Agriculture store.

Others who weren’t able to salvage most of their products from the flash floods in December and last Wednesday have opted to close their businesses temporarily.

Ulugia said the S.L.C. Board has approved a $500,000 funding allocation for the relocation site. 

One of the stall owners at Savalalo market, Kerisimasi Masame, said recent flooding has forced some of the small businesses to close permanently. 

He pointed out that the business owners who sold goods on the lower grounds of the Savalalo market were the main victims of the floods.

About 20-plus stalls that were located on the lower ground have been demolished, leaving only tents and litter in the space that would normally have handicraft sellers. 

“I guess we are lucky our stall is on the higher ground but others down there weren’t so lucky,” Mr Masame told the Samoa Observer. “Some have relocated to the other side of the old agriculture store and I’m also aware that some have decided to close temporarily until a permanent structure to replace this is completed.”

The construction of a new Savalalo market in Sogi is underway with the reclamation of five acres of land in the pipeline. 

But Mr. Masame is wary of the challenges they will face at the new market site that is located in the swampy area. 

“My concern about the new area that we will relocate to is the swamp and having to go through the same issue there when there are flash floods,” he said. “I guess if they raise the ground here [Savalalo market] we will be okay but we will soon be moving near the swamps where seawater can easily flow through.”

But the head of the S.L.C. assured that engineers have considered the flooding problem and will ensure it is built according to those changes. 

He said that the reclamation work that is likely to begin this month is to raise the ground level by 1.5 meter for two acre land that will be used for the market building. 

The reclamation work contract was awarded to Silva Transport and will cost more than $1 million. 

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