Tensions among vendors operating along Fairchild Street and areas surrounding Probyn Street appeared to ease this afternoon after reaching a tentative agreement on relocation to make way for a makeover of Probyn Street, Golden Square and Fairchild Street.
Barbados Association of Retailers, Vendors and Entrepreneurs (BARVEN) told Barbados TODAY that its members have been given “satisfactory” temporary accommodations to ply their trade while the old National Insurance Building and the Fire Service headquarters are demolished.
The resolution was reached following a near three-hour long meeting between the vendors’ representative and the project developers, the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc (BTI), at the BTI’s offices.
Under the agreement, vendors are to be moved to the northeast of the area to the pathway along the Constitution River at the rear entrance to the Fairchild Street Bus Terminal, said BARVEN president Alister Alexander.
Work is to be done to make the area “pedestrian-friendly” and temporary stalls are to be set up, he added.
Alexander said: “Right now, we don’t want to dwell in the past and we are happy that this has been sorted out because in the end we will benefit from the development, which also includes a new Fairchild Street market.”
During her address to the nation last week, Prime Minister Mia Mottley revealed plans for a City facelift that include the Golden Square Freedom Park and the completion of the Fairchild Street Market Village.
Mottley said 100 new vending stalls are to built at the market.
Vendors operating near the construction zone were informed that they would be required to relocate, although many complained that they were not told where to go.
Last Thursday, an upset Alexander told Barbados TODAY that the vendors felt disrespected since they were not given the opportunity to meet with authorities and discuss a viable solution to the challenges. He stressed that if such an approach was not taken, the vendors would not comply.
The letters informed them that the section of Fairchild Street opposite the old NIS Building is to be closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic, and that the nature of the work would prevent vendors from operating from their current locations.
This afternoon, a clearly relieved Alexander explained that the temporary relocation could actually result in an uptick in business for vendors.
He predicted that more foot traffic will be funnelled to their businesses at the river pathway, as the cordoned off construction area, would require bus terminal users to pass by their stalls.
Joyann Haigh, whose firm, Haigh Communications, is handling the project’s public relations, explained that a similar provision would be made for vendors operating within the Fairchild Street terminal as well as the vendors operating around the Probyn Street fire station.
Noting that disruption is expected of traffic, pedestrians and businesses within the area, Haigh told Barbados TODAY: “We have quite a number of players involved in this, so we are dealing with BARVEN first and then we are moving on to the other vendors at the Transport Board as well as those under the Ministry of Agriculture.
“Everybody has something different happening in each section, what may impact the vendors on the bridge, may not necessarily impact the kiosks elsewhere.
“So there are different solutions for different groups and that is why we had to do things step by step starting with BARVEN.”