Saturday, October 19

Renovation of Tower Market to complete earlier than expected

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KUCHING: Renovation work on Tower Market, more commonly known as open air market, is expected to be completed earlier than the stipulated three months.

Kuching North City Hall (DBKU) Datuk Bandar Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai told The Borneo Post yesterday they wanted the hawkers to resume trading before the Hari Merdeka and Malaysia Day celebrations.

“Two weeks ago, we spoke to the 18 representatives from the market who had been trading there for many years and they consented to the renovation work.

“DBKU, the contractor, and hawkers reached a compromise on the overall renovation to suit their respective needs, and everybody agreed as it was a ‘win-win’ situation.”

He opined that the market would become more attractive once the work, costing RM400,000, was completed.

“This facelift will help to brighten up the area, especially at night time. It will also make the area look more alive.”

He added that DBKU would clean up the drainage which had been clogged by oil and food waste for years.

“It will be cleaner and hygienic in the future, and we hope it would help change visitors’ perception of the market.”

The contractor, who commenced work three days ago, told The Borneo Post that they believed they could complete the work within two months so that the hawkers’ rice bowl would not be affected unnecessarily long.

Officially, the market was closed on May 15 and is scheduled to reopen on August 14.

He added that the historical tower at the market would also be repaired to ensure that the landmark and its history are preserved for posterity.

Some of the hawkers who are now doing their business outside the market gave their thumbs up to DKBU and the contractor.

“We will temporary cease our business for a while,” said a well-known `Siow Bee’ seller, who declined to be named, whose stall is still patronised by regulars.

The well-known landmark in front of Electra House took its name from the tower of the old Kuching Fire station built in 1948 at Jalan Gartak. The fire station was demolished sometime in the 1950s, but the tower was left alone until today.