By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
FREEPORT - The first phase of the Wellington Pinder Heights Subdivision was officially opened on Thursday by Minister of Housing Kenneth Russell, who unveiled plans for a complete $21 million, four-phase housing development in Hawksbill.
The first phase is comprised of 60 houses, and infrastructure work has already started on the second phase where an additional 50 houses will be built.
Mr Russell said the new subdivision in Hawksbill was named in honour of the late Rev Dr Wellington Pinder for his outstanding contributions to the community of Grand Bahama.
The wife and son of Rev Pinder, Valurine Pinder and Rev Peter Pinder, unveiled the sign for the new subdivision.
"We want to thank all of Reverend Pinder's family for coming here. This is an historic day because if you look at the history of Rev Wellington Pinder, you will know that he is a man deserving of this recognition," Mr Russell said.
He said WPH Subdivision will be further developed to include phases three and four.
Mr Russell said a good deal of the land has already been paid for, with future plans for various amenities, including land set aside for a shopping plaza, playground and pre-school.
"The government would have invested just around $21 million in the development of WPH subdivision," he said.
The minister said the complete subdivision will include 200-300 houses, and will provide business opportunities for persons interested in building a shopping plaza or pre-school.
"When completed there will be almost 300 homes, so a pre-school will do wonderful here and also cater to residents of Pinder's Point and Lewis Yard," he added.
"Today is a very important one for both homeowners and contractors. This is indeed among one of the finest subdivisions ever developed by the Ministry of Housing, and it is a tangible recognition of the government's acknowledgment of the outstanding contribution made by Rev Wellington Pinder," Mr Russell said.
According to Mr Russell, the government has spent just under $8 million over the past two and a half years completing repairs and developing six subdivisions on the island.
The subdivisions are: East Coral Estates, Pine Coral Estates, Forbisher Circle, West Heights, Heritage, Sunset, and Wellington Pinder Heights.
Mr Russell also noted that the ministry is embarking on another ambitious housing programme.
"The MOH continues to place much emphasis on Grand Bahama," he said.
"This is demonstrated by the fact we have placed in-house value of just under $33 million on works now being planned for the island, which includes all of the six subdivisions.
"We are cognisant of the economic challenges facing the people of Grand Bahama and it is for this reason my ministry sees its role as being a dual one.
"We realise we are not only required to assist persons in realising the dream of home ownership, but to stimulate the local construction industry by providing jobs for builders, artisans, and other persons who rely on the construction industry.
"We have sought expeditiously to proceed with development of the WPH Subdivision, and our aim has been to move through four phases for this subdivision."
Mr Russell said he expects to meet with the Grand Bahama Port Authority to discuss infrastructural work on other two phases, "so we can put more contractors to work."
"I feel the pain of Grand Bahamians who are not working. And whatever the MOH can do to ease that pain, we will do," he said.
Mr Russell said he believes the subdivision's name is a fitting tribute to Wellington Pinder.
"The government could not have chosen a more worthy individual to serve as this subdivision's namesake," he said.
He described Rev Pinder as a respected man of God, who served as moderator for the Zion Churches in Grand Bahama.
He was also honorary president of Grand Bahama Christian Council, member of local Board of Works for many years, member of the Independence Committee, and an officer in Grand Order of Fellows Lodge.
He was also a Justice of the Peace.
Mr Russell also acknowledged David Jordine, deputy chairman of the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation, the financing agent for most of the homes in Wellington Pinder Heights.
He commended Mr Arthur Jones, vice president of building and development at the GBPA, for ensuring that the houses were built to good standards.
Rev Arnold Pinder Jr, president of the Grand Bahama Christian Council, blessed the houses.
WPH was built by the government following devastation caused by Hurricane Wilma in Mack Town, Hunters, Lewis Yard, and Pinder's Point, to provide relocation for residents in those vulnerable settlements on the southern shoreline.
Rev Peter Pinder and Mrs Valurine Pinder, the son and wife of the late Rev Dr Wellington Pinder attended the opening of the new subdivision named in honour of Rev Wellington Pinder. Also seated are Georgina Russell and Minister of Housing Kenneth Russell. (Photo: Vandyke Hepburn).
Minister of Housing Kenneth Russell speaking at the official opening of the Wellington Pinder Heights Subdivision. (Photo: Vandyke Hepburn)
The unveiling of the sign.
(Photo: Vandyke Hepburn)