Social enterprise to run Bedok Hawker Centre

Social enterprise to run Bedok Hawker Centre

A hawker centre will be managed by a social enterprise to help keep its food prices affordable after its lease expired earlier this year.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said yesterday that the centre at Block 208B New Upper Changi Road in Bedok will be managed by NTUC Foodfare when it opens next month, replacing a nearby one at Block 207.

The agency will work with NTUC Foodfare to implement a new, not-for-profit management model at first, with the social enterprise expected to "fully manage" the centre from next March.

The NEA said it is confident that NTUC Foodfare can deliver "affordable food and an all-day dining experience to the community", based on its expertise in managing large-scale food operations. The Bedok hawker centre at Block 207 was one of 15 hawker centres where stallholders were on 20-year leases.

Four of the 15 centres' leases ended in May and the rest are set to expire between next year and 2017. The NEA had asked for proposals to manage the four centres on a not-for-profit basis earlier this year. It said the managers, who are essentially master tenants, would be responsible for looking for hawkers to take over vacant stalls, and for food prices and food mix in the centres.

The model means that any operating surplus generated by a centre must be shared among its stakeholders and be used to create "social benefits". It cannot go to the manager's shareholders, the agency said in its Request for Information.

NTUC Foodfare has also been appointed to manage the new Bukit Panjang hawker centre on a not-for-profit basis when it opens next year.

The NEA also said yesterday that it will call a Request for Proposal inviting social enterprises to manage a new hawker centre to be located with Ci Yuan Community Club.

The hawker centre is one of 10 new centres announced by the Government in 2011, and is expected to open in the first half of next year.

zengkun@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Oct 4, 2014.
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