Nakuru County will spend Sh600 million to build a new market at old fire station in Bondeni Estate, in the first phase of decongestion of the Central Business District.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui said the second phase of the project will involve putting up a Sh 100 million modern bus terminus and parking lot for private vehicles at the site.
“We will be decommissioning the Old Fire Station and its adjoining County slaughter house to create space for these public amenities.
The relocation of these social amenities will decongest the CBD and lead to orderly development and expansion of the town” said Mr Kinyanjui.
Speaking in his office when he held a meeting with representatives of public service vehicles operators, business associations and market traders the County chief said the project will be implemented within two years.
The County has also acquired land at the Gate House roundabout that was previously occupied by a private company and revealed plans to establish an ultra-modern PSV park.
He stated that construction of the market is set to provide a favorable environment and alleviate the problem of lack of enough selling space for over 2,000 traders.
Once complete Mr Kinyanjui affirmed that a joint committee will be set up to come up with a list of traders who will be allocated spaces as well as establish the mechanism by which traders will be selected and how the market will be operated.
The committee, he said, would avert cases where impostors con innocent citizens through fake sale of market spaces and issuance of stalls in proposed facility.
He called on matatu operators to consider themselves ‘as part of the transport system’ and not ‘its exclusive owners.’
Mr Kinyanjui said County government had good intentions in unveiling the project whose full implementation will lead to a modern and vibrant town with a well-organized transport system.
“We will form a committee with representatives from the matatu sector and county government to look into the development of the new bus terminus. The team will give a report within 14 days for our consideration,” the governor stated.
In March this year the County Covid-19 Response Committee set up new bus termini at Kenya Farmers Association, Kingdom Seekers and Kwa Jack areas to decongest the CBD following outbreak of the pandemic. Others were relocated to areas including Ziwani and Railways grounds, all out of town.
The committee chaired by County Commissioner Erastus Mbui Mwenda also relocated the Nakuru Main Wakulima Market to Afraha Stadium.
However while allowing traders back to Wakulima Market Mr Kinyanjui issued a directive banning all matatus in the CBD, a move that received resistance from public service vehicle operators leading to unrest.
“We sat down as stakeholders and agreed on getting a permanent solution to the matatu menace as they had turned the city pavements to parking bays and agreed to come up with alternatives.
In the meantime, my administration is ensuring the new matatu termini outside the CBD have social amenities like toilets as well as water,” said the governor.
Matatu Saccos have long operated from the CBD, where they have opened offices, but they park their vehicles on the streets causing congestion and impeding free flow of traffic.
Among those that have offices within the CBD are Molo line Prestige Shuttle, Prestige Shuttle, 2NK, Nyamakima Line, Nairobi Line and Njoro Line.
By Anne Mwale