SINGAPORE - A temporary market for stallholders who lost their livelihoods when a fire swept through a wet market and coffee shop in Jurong last week will be built before Chinese New Year.
Jurong GRC MP Ang Wei Neng, who held a closed-door meeting with 26 stallholders on Wednesday (Oct 19), said a majority of them - more than 80 per cent of those who turned up - had agreed to take up stalls at the market. Stallholders will pay a rent of $800 per month, excluding utilities and conservancy charges, similar to what they pay currently.
The temporary market is part of a plan to help stallholders after a blaze engulfed their premises at Block 493 and Block 494 on Oct 11. A 41-year-old man was arrested on Thursday for allegedly starting the fire. Rebuilding a new permanent market is expected to take more than a year.
Demolition of Block 493, which housed the wet market, started on Wednesday (Oct19) and will take about three weeks to complete, said the Housing Board(HDB).
Stallholders, however, were unable to retrieve items from their stalls as the building structure had worsened over the past few days. Allowing them to enter the site would have endangered their lives, said HDB, adding that even the workers belonging to a HDB-appointed professional engineer were barred from going in.
The demolition will start from the roof. Long-arm crushers and excavators will be used to bring down the roof, and crush and flatten the building.
A small section of car park J54, near Blocks 493 and 494 will be boarded up to facilitate the works, which will be carried out from Monday to Saturday between 8am to 7pm. Police officers will be around to maintain order at the site.
HDB said it will "do its best" to minimise inconvenience to surrounding residents.
Only four stallholders have taken up an offer of alternative stalls by the National Environment Agency, which would allow them to resume business within a month. Most of the others have applied for stalls located in the west.
A job fair featuring 16 employers, mostly from the food and beverage industry, will also be held next Thursday (Oct 27) at Jurong Green Community Centre to help affected stallholders.