Stallholders at Chong Boon Market can ease the squeeze

Above: Stallholders can use up to 30cm of the walkway after they complained that the renovated stalls are too narrow to work in.
Above: Stallholders can use up to 30cm of the walkway after they complained that the renovated stalls are too narrow to work in.ST PHOTOS: KEVIN LIM
Above: The stalls being readied on Monday for yesterday's opening.
Above: The stalls being readied on Monday for yesterday's opening.ST PHOTOS: KEVIN LIM

Stallholders at the revamped Chong Boon Market in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 will be given more space to hawk their wares following feedback that their new stalls were too narrow, said Mr Kwar Ser Seng, chairman of the market's hawker association.

The market at Block 453A was reopened yesterday following a six-month renovation.

The Straits Times understands that the Ang Mo Kio town council is allowing stallholders to take up to 30cm of space on the walkways so they can place goods outside their stalls.

Chicken seller Wee Lay Keong, 40, whose chiller currently juts out from the edge of his stall by about 30cm, said he welcomed the news. "We were wishing for an additional 45 or 50cm. But 30cm is better than nothing," he said.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) had engaged the hawkers' association and stallholders on plans for the centre, and had also shared the preliminary design proposal with them since May last year, the agency said yesterday.

However, stallholders were upset after collecting the keys to their stalls two weeks ago. Though longer, the new stalls were less deep than before.

NEA said that before the renovation, the size of the stalls was 3 sq m. Now, they range between 4.5 sq m and 5.4 sq m.

After collecting their keys, the stallholders appealed to the authorities to allow them to place goods outside their stalls.

Mr Kwar said stallholders may have been initially unhappy because they were not used to the newly constructed walls that limited their movements.

Prior to the revamp, the market had an open concept, with no walls separating the stalls.

The revamped stalls have low partition walls, which the NEA yesterday said "provide proper segregation of stalls, prevent stallholder disputes and ensure accountability of public hygiene within each stall".

To free up space in stalls, hawkers can place their freezers in a common freezer area instead of within their individual stalls, said NEA.

Mr Ng Siow Hee, 63, a vegetable seller, said the space was enough for him. "It depends on how you arrange the tables in the stall," he said, adding that business was good yesterday, with many of his regular customers returning.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2016, with the headline 'Stallholders at Chong Boon Market can ease the squeeze'. Print Edition | Subscribe