Eleven new housing units and three commercial structures costing $15.8 million have been delivered to beneficiaries in Andrew Court, Olympic Gardens by the Ministry of Water and Housing.
The one-bedroom units were constructed at the corner of Holts Road and Olympic Way, to replace board shacks in which the residents were living.
“You have a house with enough space so you can expand, and we will work with you to provide the design and help you to lay out something that you can feel proud of,” Minister of Water and Housing, Dr. Horace Chang told the residents at the official handing over on Wednesday (July 29).
He said that, in addition titling will be done, to ensure they not only have somewhere to live, but also have a title to their new home.
The Minister said he believed that every Jamaican should own a piece of ‘the Rock’, and also should have a title to prove ownership of the land.
He exhorted the new home owners to help to beautify the homes by planting trees and keeping common areas clean. He also reiterated the importance of the small development.
“This is a special event for me, because this is the first full scheme we have completed. We came here about a year ago, and looked at what was called the Community Centre residence in Olympic Way. I saw the conditions that citizens were living in and realised it was not appropriate,” he said.
One of the 11 one-bedroom units built at Andrew Court, at the intersection of Holts Road and Olympic Way in Kingston, by the Ministry of Water and Housing. Residents were officially presented with keys to the units by Minster of Housing Dr. Horace Chang and Member of Parliament for West Central St. Andrew, Andrew Holness, recently.
Member of Parliament for the area, Andrew Holness, spoke of the special meaning that the new development held for him.
“The first time I toured this site it was called Community Centre, a strange name for a community. I made a commitment that, as soon as I was in a position to do something about the conditions of the residents, that I was going to do something,” he said.
Mr. Holness approached his colleague Cabinet Minister, Dr. Chang, who toured the area with him and made the decision to construct the block and steel houses for the residents.
Miss Rosalee Shirley, one of the beneficiaries who lived in a board house on the premises before it was developed, has lost one of her legs and uses a wheelchair to get around.
“I lived in a board house here for 17 years. I am glad to have a house of my own. Now I can focus on getting a job,” the unemployed woman told JIS News.
Miss Pamela Smith, who was busy cleaning the floor of her new unit when the team arrived, invited us on a tour of her unit, which has a large kitchen and bathroom.
“I am glad for this. I am currently working but I will not be able to do any addition at the moment. I will do my addition when I can afford it.” Miss Smith said.
Andrew Court is halfway between the intersection of Olympic Way and Bay Farm Road and Seaward Drive. The units were built at the site of a former community centre, which was destroyed by Hurricane Gilbert in 1988. The land was afterwards occupied by families who constructed makeshift board and zinc units. A concrete perimeter wall is to be constructed around the premises, soon.