THE Honiara City Council’s decision to shut down the roadside market at White River in west Honiara has not gone down well with residents there.
This is expected because the market, illegal as it may, was the most accessible to vendors and people of west Honiara.
However, the decision is right and the council must be commended for taking that course of action.
First, the market was illegal.
This is because council permission was not sought in establishing it.
Under law, only the council can establish markets within the city boundary.
Second, while the market offered accessibility to residents of White River and nearby communities, it is causing traffic inconvenience within the locality.
The market does not sit on a proper venue.
It was set up basically on the roadside and vendors normally pitch up their stalls on the public road, consequently blocking the flow of traffic.
Thirdly, and most importantly, because it was an illegally established market, no one is taking responsibility for the large amount of trash created each day.
As a result, all those rubbish ended up in the roadside drain and the nearby stream.
They are not only a health hazard, but they also made the city and in particular, the community, look filthy.
So the decision to close down the market is timely and in the public interest.
The council however, must understand that in doing what it did, it has cut off incomes from many Solomon Islanders who have been using the market to sell their products.
It therefore has a responsibility to establish a proper and legal market in West Honiara.
This is important for two reasons.
First, the population within west Honiara has increased dramatically in recent years.
Establishing a market there would not only serve farmers and other vendors, but also the people of the communities there.
Secondly, Honiara Central Market, where most Honiara residents go, is getting smaller and overcrowded.
Another market in west Honiara, and a third in east Honiara, would relief the daily overcrowding at the Central Market.
This is an issue the council needs to seriously look into and pursue.
Lack of land is obviously a hindrance to building two additional markets for Honiara, but the council needs to look beyond that.
In light of the land shortage in Honiara, the council should consider talking to customary landowners.
There may be landowners who are prepared to sell some of their land for public interest purposes such as market establishments.
The council must pursue to resolve the overcrowding at the Central Market with vigour and determination.
Otherwise, we will be seeing more illegal markets springing up on the outskirts of Honiara in coming months.