MINISTER of Transport and Housing JoBeth Coleby-Davis.
By JADE RUSSELL
TRANSPORT and Housing Minister JoBeth Coleby-Davis says the government is making progress regarding its affordable housing initiative.
In January, Mrs Coleby-Davis announced the housing project designed to provide homes for Bahamians seeking affordable options.
The Davis administration officially opened the Pinecrest Subdivision in New Providence, which is a part of the government’s project in New Providence. She further noted that the Renaissance, a 365-lot subdivision at Carmichael, should be starting by the end of August.
Yesterday, Mrs Coleby-Davis told reporters that the housing initiative is progressing at Grand Bahama and Abaco.
She said: “In Grand Bahama I think we’re just going out to tender for the road for the 18 lots. We were able to secure 18 lots in the Heritage Subdivision. We will start with the 18 and then we’re looking to advance to a hundred extra lots, which I think we’re in discussions now about acquiring those 100 lots.”
The minister explained that in Abaco they have a few homes already up in the Central Pines Subdivision.
“We started with about ten lots. I think four is already started (and) well on their way. Hopefully we should be moving soon on the others. We will be expanding to where we’re going to be doing the demolition of the domes.
“We have our site plan that gives us 11 lots on that actual property. We’ll start there with 11 lots right across the street, I think we’re going to be doing 21 lots. So that’ll be about 32 homes in total that we get out of that particular area until we expand with infrastructure and everything else,” she added.
She noted that they are also looking into other Family Islands.
At Eleuthera, officials are set to start homes in the Ocean Hole Subdivision where Minister Coleby-Davis led the groundbreaking of the new housing subdivision recently.
She explained that there was some infrastructural work to be facilitated. However, homes should be going up in the area soon.
When asked about the number of homes in progress, Mrs Coleby-Davis said she would say close to about 50 structures.
Additionally, the minister addressed the demolition of domes in Abaco.
“August is the deadline for the families to be relocated. Like I said, the officers are assisting with them from DRA, Social Services and Housing. So, we’re hoping to start demolition by the end of August.”
Mrs Coleby-Davis told reporters yesterday that the domes will have to be demolished because they are unsafe and a health hazard.
“Persons were reaching out to me to see if they can get the domes after persons moved out, but we’re unable to release them. We can’t utilise them because of the conditions of them.”
The minister said they have already got cabinet to approve a reallocation fund for each family having to move out of the domes.
She told reporters she believes the fund is $4,000 per family to assist with rent and other expenses once they have found new residences.
She noted that they have a team on the ground, inclusive of the Department of Housing, Social services, and the DRA working together to bring some resolution to the matter.
She was also asked by The Tribune what plan they had for people living in domes on their own land and if they would also be given a deadline to move?
Minister Coleby-Davis said that matter would fall under the DRA as it is going to be assisting with the renovations and repair of homes damaged during Hurricane Dorian.
“I think that they are actually also on the ground in Abaco and Grand Bahama, doing assessments so that they can be able to price out the cost of what is left to be done in those homes, so they can get the families back in their homes as soon as possible. I’m not certain, but I heard that’s what they are doing on the ground there.”