(GINA) The construction of more turnkey homes, the employment of groups of contractors and other skilled workers to work with the housing ministry, the development of new housing schemes, and Silica City, the completion of a highway into Parfait Harmonie, and allocation of 6000 houselots are among significant projects that will be pursued by the Ministry of Housing in 2014.
The projects were outlined by the Housing Minister Irfaan Ali at his end of year press conference.
The Ministry is targeting in 2014, the construction of 500 turnkey homes, Minister Ali said, as a lot of applicants now are requesting to be part of the project, the young professional homes, the clerical workers’ homes and the lower high income homes.
The Minister also pointed to the ‘real trickledown effect’ the construction of the homes is having on the economies of the neighbouring communities where they are being constructed. He said that in the Eccles, to construct turnkey homes, the ministry in 2013 employed more than 400 persons from nearby communities, inclusive of Agricola and Mocha.
This housing development which is to be developed on the Linden-Soesdyke Highway would be one of the ministry’s signature projects as it would be a prime housing, commercial, tourism, and industrial development for Guyana, Minister Ali said.
The concept was launched at Building Expo 2013 and the ministry was hoping to have the conceptual designs, and outlay and outlook of the area available early in 2014. The ministry has already publicly asked for anyone who wants to be part of grand idea to submit their thoughts.
“Flooding, climate change, land availability infrastructure upgrade, infrastructure expansion, future plans of a deep water port that will necessitate the expansion of our highway all the way to Linden, all of this make Silica City a viable mid-town, mid-point area or development and opportunity for Guyanese people and we are going to pursue this dream, we are going to pursue this ambition with vigour because we at the Ministry of Housing believe strongly in the accomplishment of this dream,” he said.
The Minister also pointed out that land allocation in Region Four has become an issue because of the lack of availability and has created challenges for the ministry’s planners.
“From a planning perspective it is becoming increasingly more difficult for us to find plots of land on the East Coast. Matter fact, we cannot locate lands on the East Coast now that can be used for housing development, because Guysuco as you know is still the largest owner of land on the East Coast, and they are basically not ready to divest themselves of any portion of land in that area,” he said.
He said too, that the ministry is in its penultimate tier of development with regards to the East Bank.
The Ministry of Housing and Water will advertise very shortly for masons, carpenters, labourers and other skilled persons to work within the Ministry. This will be sustained employment for period of a year or two that will see the workers being formed into small contracting groups and given the responsibility of constructing the different types of homes that are made available under the ministry’s housing programmes.
In 2014 the Ministry of Housing is hoping to complete a few new schemes, among which are Zeeburg and the expansion of Zeelugt in Region Three towards the creation of 1500 more lots.
There will also be the continued development of the East Bank corridor to bring about another 3,000 lots. Focus will be on opening up the Little Diamond area to have commercial, industrial development.
New highways and connecting roads
The Ministry will also focus on completing the new highway into Parfait Harmonie that would realise a new access almost to the Demerara Harbour Bridge.
To be completed as well in 2014 is the asphaltic concrete paving of four collector roads between Eccles to Little Diamond. These are designed to create the link between the existing East Bank highway and proposed alignment that would link the East Coast and East Bank.
Minister Ali said that the ministry has already completed a preliminary design for the proposed link, and is hoping to complete the designs and start work soon.
Continued focus will also be on some of the main arteries into Sophia.
Given the successful implementation of the Housing Ministry’s Central Housing and Planning Authority and the Inter-American Development Bank’s Second Income Settlement Programme-LIS-2 that addresses housing in the hinterland with the construction in eight communities in Regions One and Nine, of 122 houses and refurbishing of 86 roofs, Minister Ali said that there have been calls by the hinterland residents for more such programmes.
“They are seeing the benefits of being structured, in being a network, made far easier to access infrastructure,” Minister Ali said.