GEORGE TOWN, April 27 — A food court that was razed by a fire last year will be rebuilt into a RM3.49 million disabled-friendly food court.
State traffic and infrastructure committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the structure will be the first green building index (GBI) certified public food court in Penang.
He said it will have environmentally friendly features such as a rain harvesting system and be redesigned with a lot of natural lighting and ventilation.
Zairil said the new design will place the food court on a flat platform with seating surrounding the stalls in the centre.
He added that it will still be a single-storey food court with the addition of storage space, a surau and an office.
“We will call for tender to appoint the contractor in May and the tender duration is three weeks,” he said during a press conference today.
Zairil said the project is expected to start work by July this year and to be completed by the end of the year.
“We hope to obtain CCC and open it by January next year,” he said.
The original food court was razed by a fire in November last year.
Zairil said the only option was to rebuild as the structure could not be salvaged as most of the roof and stalls were destroyed in the fire.
He said the state held several meetings on the food court before deciding on rebuilding it with state funds.
“Initially, we planned to give it to the city council but it doesn’t have the funds to rebuild it so this matter was brought up in the state exco in February and it was decided that the state will fund it,” he said.
He said Chief Minister’s Incorporated (CMI) will be the custodian for the land and eventually the state will alienate the land to CMI to manage fully.
The food court originally had a total 33 stalls but the new food court will have 40 stalls so that roadside stalls outside the food court could be shifted into the new complex.
As for the 33 affected hawkers, Zairil said they were called in for interviews to be offered other stalls in other places.
“Only 27 turned up for the interview, nine received offers to temporarily open their stalls in other complexes while the 18 others chose to wait for this food court to be completed,” he said.
He said all of the affected stalls were offered cash aid of RM500 each from Zakat in November last year and his office had also given every stall RM500 each in December.
He said the stalls also received RM500 aid in April 2020 and again in January this year, bringing the total cash aid they had received between last year and now to RM2,000 each.
As for the hawkers’ licences, he said the city council had to cancel them pending the construction of the new food court.
“This is so that there will not be accumulated arrears as the licensing system will automatically calculate their fees even though they are not operating so we have to cancel the licence for now and they will be offered lots in the new food court once it’s completed,” he said.
He said the cancellation of the licence will not affect the hawkers’ status and that all 33 affected hawkers will be offered lots in the new food court.