$10m market leaks
The recently opened $10million market at Fugalei is leaking.
In fact, according to vendors, it leaked as soon as it was opened, so they could not stay silent anymore.
The leakage is so bad there are days when vendors simply cannot operate their small businesses, causing widespread frustration and unnecessary anxiety.
The heavy downpour on Tuesday and Wednesday last week exposed the ugly reality once more.
That’s when Fa’afetai Tuifao, one of more than ten stall owners badly affected by the leakage, could not hold back her frustration.
“I’m quite angry about this,” she told the Sunday Samoan.
“I’ve decided to speak up publicly because we raised this issue a year ago and nothing has been done about it. Today, we cannot sell our stuff because the water just buckets down every time there is a heavy downpour.
“It’s ridiculous that we are asked to pay for the rent even though we cannot display our handicrafts and clothes.”
Mrs. Tuifao said they have raised the issue with the officials who collect the rent money from them but they don’t seem to care.
“Every time we complain to the office (responsible) they just come stand here and look at the roof and say they will report it. Nothing happens.”
According to her, their $10 a day rent is a lot of money.
And when it rains for several days, they are out of business.
The mother said she has had enough of the authorities not taking their plight seriously enough.
“I feel that our request has fallen on deaf ears for so long,” she said.
“We might not be making much money from here but it doesn’t mean that our needs are less important.
“We just want to fix the problem before it rains again and we have to close and go home.”
Sometimes when Mrs. Tuifao is so desperate for space, she begs other stall owners if she could use some of their space.
“I can’t always do this everyday,” she said. “I can’t be looking for a stall when I have my own stall. This is a stall I pay $10 everyday for and when it rains I cannot use it. This is not fair.”
Last week, other stalls near Mrs. Tuifao were closed for almost three days due to the leakage.
The Fugalei market is run by the Accident Compensation Corporation. It was not possible to get a comment from the Corporation at press time.
The Fugalei Market, dogged by controversy and delays, was opened in August 2014.
The initial design had a two-storey building that was going to cost $42million.
However, after long delays, Cabinet changed the plan and settled for a $10million single dwelling
The opening was music to the ears for farmers and vendors, who had to brave the boiling sun and the rain for several years to sell their produce and crops.
At the opening, Prime Minister Tuilaepa said there was no more need for farmers to sell their crops and produce out in the sun and rain.
“There are plenty of spaces inside the market for everyone,” he said.
The market was built by the Qing Dao Construction.