By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
FORTY-SIX families will be gifted homes in Central Pines, Abaco, according to Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.
He said the land lease for the development of the homes is being finalised by the Office of the Attorney General and that a subdivision in Murphy Town is also under development. Dr Minnis did not say how officials will determine who gets the free homes.
He said the Disaster Reconstruction Authority and Department of Lands and Survey are evaluating available properties for the development of permanent housing in Sweetings Cay, McLean’s Town and High Rock in Grand Bahama.
The DRA, which he said has identified temporary housing solutions for Abaco and Grand Bahama, will erect domes and container housing units in those zones. Two 60 acre sites in Marsh Harbour and Wilson City have been identified for permanent housing, he said. Residents of Abaco and Grand Bahama are still in rebuilding mode after Hurricane Dorian ripped through those islands last September.
Dr Minnis said prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the government began disseminating land grants within the southern Bahamas.
“As of March 2020, the Department of Lands and Survey prepared and finalised 49 Crown land grants for Bahamians, including on the islands of Inagua, Crooked Island and Mayaguana,” he said during his budget communication in the House of Assembly. “Now that some of the restrictions on travel concerning COIVD-19 have been lifted, surveyors will return to the MICAL islands and we will continue this important work to empower Bahamians through land ownership.”
He said Baker’s Bay, a major employer in Abaco, is furthering its expansion plans which include $400 million in works over three years.
“As of today, I am advised that 472 persons are employed property-wide, 80 percent of which are Bahamians,” he said.
He highlighted other indicators that the economy of Abaco will be restored, noting that a project, the Montage Cay and Marina, was approved on January 14, though the heads of agreement has not been signed.
“Sterling Montage Ltd will acquire Matt Lowe’s Cay and Marina property and will be known as Montage Cay and Marina situated in the Abaco chain of cays, for a consideration of $40 million,” he said. “Sterling Montage Cay Limited took title to the cay last month. The project is in the initial stage of designing plans. A heads of agreement is proposed to be executed later this year.
“The affiliates of Sterling Montage Cay Limited - Sterling Global Developments Limited and STAR Construction Ltd - will take the lead with respect to the proposed construction and development of the Montage Cay and Marina project. It is proposed that Montage Hotel & Resorts LLC will manage the operations and branding of the project. The estimated total capital investment is proposed at $352.2 million dollars. At present there are 12 persons working at Montage Cay inclusive of employees and independent contractors. It is anticipated that there will be 2,970 persons employed throughout the various phases of the proposed construction. At completion of the project, permanent direct employment is expected to be 250 people.”
He further said: “A heads of agreement for the proposed $300 million dollar five star residential, resort and marina development by Tyrsoz Family Holdings Ltd was signed on the 13tg of February, 2020 in Sandy Point, Abaco. The developer has been progressing with the technical elements of the project and has submitted its environmental impact assessment and environmental management plan to the BEST Commission for review.”