One of Singapore's largest food centres, Chinatown Complex, will be closed for renovation for three months next year, from March 1 to May 31.
This is part of cyclical repair and redecoration works carried out at hawker centres every five to seven years by the respective town councils or the National Environment Agency (NEA).
Built in 1983, the NEA-managed multi-storey complex houses more than 700 stalls selling food, produce and other goods.
Stallholders were issued a notice from the Jalan Besar Town Council dated Dec 1, informing them of the renovation works and closure.
These works include replacing the sewer line main pipes for the hawker centre, servicing the exhaust, jet fan and fresh air systems, replacing wall fans and fire protection systems, as well as upgrading the public toilets.
The Chinatown Complex Hawkers' Association chairman Lim Gek Meng, 68, told Chinese-language daily Lianhe Wanbao that the ageing sewage pipes, which frequently leaked and clogged, was the main reason for the renovations.
Mr Lim added: "The floor of the wet market is too slippery and we are worried that old people will slip and fall, so the town council will re-tile it."
Mr Daniel Goh, 43, co-owner of Smith Street Taps, which is located on the second storey of the complex, told The New Paper that proper downtime for the building to be refreshed was necessary, despite the loss of income.
He said: "We are definitely worried. But ultimately it is going to be a renewal of the entire complex and honestly it is required. It is a very, very old building."
The complex underwent a month-long renovation in 2013 and had a major facelift after a $20.9 million upgrading project between 2006 and 2008.
Mr Goh, who is planning to set up a pop-up store elsewhere during the renovation period, said a bigger concern is whether any of the hawkers, many close to retirement, would use the closure as a reason to close shop.
Mr Lim told Wanbao that the renovations were originally slated for October this year, but the hawkers' association had requested that it be delayed until after Chinese New Year.
This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.