From Sungei Road to Golden Mile Tower

Left: Vendor registration for a spot at the new site on the sixth-floor carpark of Golden Mile Tower will take place tomorrow. Above: The threat of a downpour from flashes of lightning in the distance failed to deter the crowds who wanted to soak up
The threat of a downpour from flashes of lightning in the distance failed to deter the crowds who wanted to soak up the atmosphere and bid the Sungei Road market farewell last night at its decades-old location.ST PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG
Left: Vendor registration for a spot at the new site on the sixth-floor carpark of Golden Mile Tower will take place tomorrow. Above: The threat of a downpour from flashes of lightning in the distance failed to deter the crowds who wanted to soak up
Vendor registration for a spot at the new site on the sixth-floor carpark of Golden Mile Tower will take place tomorrow. ST PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG

Iconic flea market may reopen this weekend, with nearly 50% of vendors keen on joining in

The Sungei Road market may make a comeback this weekend at Golden Mile Tower if the market’s association manages to secure the necessary permits from the authorities.

Association chairman Koh Eng Khoon, 76, said the building management of Golden Mile Tower agreed to let it use the sixth-floor carpark to hold its flea market.

Nearly half of the 200 vendors have expressed interest in moving there. There will also be about 10 newcomers.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has confirmed that “planning approval is required before the commencement of use”. It has not received any applications from the association so far.

Speaking after the closing ceremony of Sungei Road Market yesterday, Mr Koh said that he will work with the authorities to obtain the relevant permissions needed.

 

He added that vendor registration for a spot at the new open-air site, to be called Golden Mile Tower Sungei Market, will take place tomorrow. Daily rent will cost $5 for association members and $10 for non-members. A security deposit of $100 is required, along with a one-year commitment.

 

According to materials distributed to vendors, the deposit will be confiscated if littering, the sale of illegal merchandise or fighting takes place.

Mr Koh said they will try this new location for a few months.

He added that the monthly rental for the carpark space costs $10,000. Each vendor will have 1m by 2m of space, compared with the previous 1m by 1m arrangement. The new site also has the capacity to house more than 160 vendors.

Following news that the decades-old Sungei Road site was needed for future residential development, Mr Koh started hunting for a site last month, with the aid of 10 or so volunteers and the association’s committee. “I now have a place for everyone, and I am so very happy that I can help them all,” he said.

One vendor, Ms Tamil Malar, 51, said she is happy to have a new site “at least for the next year”. She did not manage to secure a lock-up stall with the National Environment Agency – one of the options offered by the authorities following news of the market’s closure.

The Government had offered affected vendors lock-up hawker stalls at centres such as Chinatown Market, North Bridge Road Market and Food Centre, and Upper Cross Street Market. Other vendors were being supported by Workforce Singapore (WSG) in their search for other jobs, while some were granted ComCare assistance. Despite the blistering heat yesterday, a large crowd trooped down to the last free hawking zone to bid it farewell and soak in the atmosphere.

Coffee shop assistant Mary Wong, 63, who was snapping photos of the market with her mobile phone, said: “I am here to take in the market and enjoy the lovely atmosphere.”

Vendors and shoppers were still milling about Sungei Road after 9pm yesterday, some with tears in their eyes.

The closing ceremony included a performance by a lion dance troupe and a sing-along to the song The Last Night by Tsai Chin.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2017, with the headline 'From Sungei Road to Golden Mile Tower'. Print Edition | Subscribe