SIBU: The proposal to relocate the night market here to Butterfly Garden has drawn mixed feelings among the public.
A random survey here revealed that most people favour the relocation while some think the municipal council should ensure that the relocation would reap the intended benefits and not be a waste of public funds.
Council chairman Datuk Tiong Thai King mentioned at the council’s monthly meeting last Tuesday that the council would improve Butterfly Garden before the proposed relocation in May.
He said a survey revealed that Butterfly Garden, which was just a stone’s throw away from the existing night market was big enough to cater to the current 176 stalls if every stall followed strictly the approved size of 10 feet by 10 feet.
He also mentioned the decision was made to lessen congestion along Market Street.
Chairman of Sibu Night Market Hawkers Association Sia Buong Sin, however, described the move as a step backward, arguing that none of the night market traders agreed with the relocation.
Sia also foresaw logistic problems and poor business at the Butterfly Garden.
President of Third Division Travel Agent Association Frankie Ting, when contacted, said the council should ensure that the trading environment at the new site is conducive.
“It should be a step for the better, and hopefully, it will continue to attract foreigners.”
He said the Sarawak Tourism Board would continue with its ‘Walking Tour at the Night Market After Dinner’ when it was relocated.
Ting said that European tourists whom he brought during the walk had praised the night market.
The night market is reputed to be one of the best night markets in the state and the council should do all that is necessary to promote the place, he added.
He also appealed to travel agents here to continue promoting the night market as a popular tourist’s destination.
Chairman of Sarawak Central Region Hoteliers Association Johnny Wong Sie Lee said the move should go ahead if it was for the good of Sibu.
He supported the idea of turning the existing night market site into a multi-storey car park, saying the town was experiencing an acute shortage of parking spaces.
He believe the proposal to build a multi-storey car park would go down well with traders along Market Road and High Street.
He suggested having more spacious entry and exit points for the night market, wherever it was located.
“This is to ensure a smoother traffic flow in the vicinity of the night market,” he explained.