A positive vendor meeting was held yesterday, with around 60 attendees, all market vendors, gathering to hear from the Punanga Nui Market Minister, Hon. George Angene, Punanga Nui Market staff and the team from CIIC.
The meeting was called by the Punanga Nui Market team to clarify misinformation or misunderstandings which had recently surfaced in relation to the market improvement project.
Vendors appeared excited by the plans and all vendors appeared happy with the assurances relayed by the Punanga Nui and CIIC team in relation to the project, including that any future plans at the market will in the first instance involve the project team working hand in hand with vendors, which will include meaningful dialogue and engagement, group dialogue and one on one dialogue, over a period of time, before any plans are finalised.
It is expected that the project team will start their engagement with vendors in June. Refreshing market policies and defining more detailed plans, is expected to span a number of months.
Cook Islands Investment Corporation CEO Allan Jensen said the improvements to the Punanga Nui facilities have been an ongoing topic of discussion, including through the Avarua Town Plan public consultations in 2019, and there was a lot more work to do, to refine these plans, alongside vendors and the wider public.
At the meeting, CIIC shared with vendors that the construction of the new Punanga Nui Market toilet block began this week. Minister for Punanga Nui Market George Angene says “with more visitors on Rarotonga and the recent completion of the Are Pa Metua Building, the timing for construction of the new toilet block is perfect and well overdue. The toilet block design provides facilities for men, women, and wheelchair accessibility and the total approved budget is $206,000”, he says.
A new sewage treatment system was installed in February, to service both the new toilet block as well as the recently completed Are Pa Metua Building. The new toilet block will be located in the same area as the Are Pa Metua Building – to the eastern end of the market, providing easier access from Taua Terevete Park, which is frequently used for community and national events.
There are currently no toilet facilities within close proximity to Taua Terevete Park, which disadvantages persons that have mobility issues, as well as the elderly. The existing two toilet facilities at the market also require upgrades to improve hygiene standards – the wastewater treatment systems are non-compliant and require upgrades to secondary treatment standards to protect public health.