Forest market felled

2016-03-29 06:00
Tokai Forest market will have its last trading day this Saturday as its lease to use the property is not being renewed.

Tokai Forest market will have its last trading day this Saturday as its lease to use the property is not being renewed.

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Tokai Forest market, which has been leasing land from the Chrysalis Academy, will end on Saturday.

Its lease will not be renewed at the end of the month as the academy has other plans for its ground.

In a bid to save the market, market-goers and traders are singing a petition to keep the market going on the property.

Chrysalis Academy provides youth development programmes to township teenagers.

The market’s Michelle Hoedemaker says it has served many people in the past seven years, but she doesn’t know how she can save it. “We have been told to find another place to trade. This is such a difficult time for us. This was a beautiful space for us. The atmosphere, the relaxing environment, it was such a lovely place. We have tried to make all the necessary communication to stay there but they won’t listen. I’m very disappointed because I have tried to knock on every door to ask for help so that we save the market but nothing has come forth. Being so helpless makes me so frustrated and drained.”

The market had about 80 members but this number has diminished to 35 as the traders pulled out so that they could find alternative markets to save their livelihoods.

“I’m pleading for help from anyone who can help me save the market. Not just for me but for all the people who depend on it,” says Hoedemaker.

Neil Roman of Chrysalis Academy says: “The lease will not be renewed due to the changing needs of Chrysalis Academy and its students. The request to still have the market on Saturday 2 April has been granted. Thereafter, the market owner has been given two weeks to remove all her belongings.

“Since we are developing vulnerable youth, the programme has to evolve to meet the needs of our students and communities. It became apparent that our core focus and values are being compromised; according to the tenant there is a need to bring in alcohol, smoking, paintball shooting amaongst other things to make the market work for them. The Porter property was bequeathed for youth development in the Western Cape.”

Chrysalis Academy says due to the high unemployment rate amongst youth, the academy is in the process of developing plans to use the space for additional skills development.

“We didn’t have a problem with the market, except problems the market organisers themselves had with burglaries or thefts. However, as per the lease agreement, tenants have to take responsibility for their own security measures. The current tenant had the contract with us for only 17 months,” he says.

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