‘Fed up’ with city

2014-01-15 00:00

THE Pietermaritzburg Farmers’ Market, based at Alexandra Park, is set to move this weekend to a new permanent home at the Botanic Gardens in Mayor’s Walk.

Botanic Gardens curator Allen Gcina Nene confirmed that he was approached late last year by representatives of the market.

There had been no fixed date for the move, but the association decided to hold its first market at Bot Gardens this Saturday, January 18. This was to be out of the way for the ANC’s Jan­uary 8 statement rally set to take place at the Harry Gwala stadium this weekend. Secretary of the Farmers’ Market Association Mike Paulton confirmed that the move was taking place sooner because of the political rally. He said the decision to move this weekend was made by the association.

Rumours had been circulating that the market was being kicked out of the park to make way for the political rally.

Ward councillor Judy Lawrence also heard about the move from a member of the public and had sent an e-mail to the Msunduzi Parks Department to find out what was going on.

Head of parks Steven Naick said he was surprised when he received Lawrence’s e-mail. He said the municipality had certainly not asked the market to move. He said the Parks Department had also been in discussions with the association to find them a site that they favoured at Alexandra Park. “If they were uncomfortable about the rally and had spoken to us, arrangements would have been made to move the market temporarily for the morning,” Naick said

Paulton said the decision to move to the Botanic Gardens was based on what they were being offered there — more space, better parking and ablution facilities. He said they were fed up with Msunduzi parks department for not keeping promises that the grass would be cut, which did not happen on a regular basis.

There were also promises of improved toilet facilities that have not materialised. The park was not maintained nor adequately cleaned.

“Last week there was a terrible stench from something dead and rotting in the long grass. It was a combination of these factors that prompted us to start looking for an alternate venue,” Paulton said.

Alexandra Park was “certainly cut and cleaned every week for use by the public”, said Naick, and the Farmers’ Market was offered the use of the toilet facilities at Harry Gwala Stadium.

Naick said a master plan for the revitalisation of Alexandra Park had been approved by council and this will be done in phases commencing in the 2014/15 financial year once funds had been secured from external sources.

Gardens ready for market

Botanical Gardens curator Allen Gcina Nene said the Farmers’ Market will be held at the entrance of the park, using part of the parking facilities. There will be no entrance fee into the park during the time the market operates and ablution facilities within the park will be available for use.

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