When will the commercial galleries for street vendors open in Coquimbo?

When will the commercial galleries for street vendors open in Coquimbo?
When will the commercial galleries for street vendors open in Coquimbo?

Today marks the first week since the start of the police takeover in the center of Coquimbo. Aldunate remains without street commerce, after the agreement reached by the informal vendors with the municipality, within the framework of the Public Spaces Recovery Plan, led by the Regional Presidential Delegation.

On a tour, yesterday morning, the feeling of passers-by was satisfied. “We are happy, it’s great that this has been done,” says a woman, sitting with her husband on one of the street benches, which, historically, and until a few days ago, was full of stalls, making it difficult to the passage of pedestrians.

At the main intersections, such as Garriga and Alcalde, officers from the Carabineros and inspectors from the Municipality, stood next to their vehicles, monitoring the maintenance of public order, with the aim of avoiding the seizure of spaces. Let us remember that a minority group of vendors did not accept the terms of the agreement and last Thursday demonstrated with canvases and even a barricade to show their discontent. Since then, however, there have been no new incidents.

In the background, one of the galleries promised by Mayor Ali Manouchehri remains closed, while a few meters away, workers prepare the second venue, the Oliver gallery, which is ready to be delivered to vendors. There will be about 50 positions that will be installed there in a few days.

The workers comment that there are still some carpentry and plumbing jobs left. They must recondition one of the bathrooms for people with disabilities and fix the ceiling of the building, which looks deteriorated. The place has not been used for more than two years, when the pandemic began and it was left unoccupied.

On the street, the impressions of the people who walk through Coquimbo are similar to those of the citizens of La Serena, when Cordovez street was cleared, but in the port there is more eagerness, for the prompt progress of the qualification of these spaces, announced even before you start coping.

The same yesterday afternoon, the vendors who will be installed in the gallery came to the municipal offices to define something crucial: the order of their positions. With a tombola, the place where they will be located was defined by lottery. The only exceptional case is that of Ana Cortés, who was assured number 1.

The older adult will have her “indigenous” grocery stall, as she describes, at the entrance to the Oliver gallery, which fills her with hope.

“The only thing I want is for them to give me the premises later to know how I am going to distribute things, it is the only thing that makes me anxious and nervous. I will be at the entrance, the first place, because they challenge me and ask where I am, especially the old ladies who go up to buy my products from the payment”, Ana commented while the raffle was taking place.

According to various sources, the site would be ready on Friday and will be delivered to the merchants that same day. From there, they will do the necessary conditioning to be comfortable and will be able to start working indoors, in a historic event for the commune.

“We are eager to open our stores later, it is what we are waiting for, we live from day to day and the most important thing is to receive the premises to be able to work. We are satisfied, because everything went well”, says Jaime Espinoza, president of the street vendors union.

It should be remembered that, as Espinoza pointed out, within the framework of the agreement with the authorities, the merchants agreed to stay without work for a few days, pending the implementation of the facility.

Marisol, another of the vendors and who has been working as a street vendor for 16 years, points out that “it has been very good for me, because I have been on the street for years, without bathrooms, in the sun, in the rain… it is very good what they did, with all their faith and doing it well, bringing what the public asks for”, he points out.

In parallel, in La Serena the plan is already advancing in the recovery of facades. With volunteer brigades, several buildings belonging to Cordovez and Eduardo de la Barra have been painted, waiting for the municipality to finish conditioning the venue that will receive vendors from the regional capital.

The article is in Spanish

Tags: commercial galleries street vendors open Coquimbo

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