SINGAPORE – The renowned Tekka Centre, popular among tourists and residents alike for fresh produce and local delicacies, will be closed to the public to undergo renovations and refurbishments for the next three months beginning 3 July.
The Tanjong Pagar Town Council, responsible for the revamp, states that improvements will encompass repainting, replacing existing furniture, upgrading lighting, installing bird deterrence measures, and sprucing up the restroom and waste centre.
The centre has not been renovated since 2008.
Shop owners reluctant to move
According to Channel News Asia, many of the 284 market stalls and 119 hawkers affected asserted that relocating to another premise for three months is not worth it.
David Joehari, owner of Joe’s Butchery, in particular, highlighted the fact that his shop calls for a large amount of equipment for setting-up, such as chillers, freezers and display cases, making it unfeasible to move.
“If I move to another market, there are a lot of (temporary) renovation I have to do on my part. I have to secure my machineries, roller shutters, etc. Then when we move out to come back, I have to dismantle everything, fix back the structure and all that. These all cost money and they are not cheap,” he said.
Some business owners have chosen to close their doors temporarily and make the most of this period of inactivity.
Mr. CJ Low, owner of CJ Low Hight Grade Beef stall, told CNA, “I’m not planning to do work. I’m just going to stay at home. Maybe I’ll go out and walk sometimes, or bring my grandchildren or my wife out to eat during the break.”
Fishmonger Paandiyan Kavramam, however, will be moving to a temporary stall in Chinatown. While she is grateful to continue her operations in another location, Kavramam is concerned about the impact on her regular customers.
“Many customers tell me, you go already very difficult for us, its very far to go to Chinatown,” she added.
Stalls bidding permanent farewells
Hawker Lim Hong Eng, the owner of Grandma’s Mee Siam, stated that the business environment has become overwhelming for some stalls, and certain vendors have decided to close shop.
She said, “For some of them, it’s a matter of not being able to manage a stall anymore; others wish to pass their units on to someone else.”
The National Environment Agency (NEA) has announced that there will be no rise in stall rentals while their three-month closure due to renovations takes place and that they will also be granting a rental remission.
Renovation work at the main market stalls and hawker stalls of level one is planned to finish by 30 September, while operations of the retail shops of level two are predicted to resume by 31 August.