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Member of Parliament (MP) for South West St. Catherine and Minister of State in the Ministry of Water and Housing, Everald Warmington has noted that a number of housing developments are currently in progress in that constituency, while others are in the planning and approval stages.
“All these units are in the middle income range. In addition there have been a number of development lots which have been on the market. Despite this, there is still need for more units or developed lots in the area, Old Harbour being the fastest growing urban centre in Jamaica,” Mr Warmington said.
He was speaking during his contribution to the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives yesterday (July 8).
He, however, noted that there are still areas where the quality of housing is “distressing.” Some of these areas are: Burkefield/Terminal Street; Burke Road/Africa; Succaba East and West; Marlie Acres; Old Harbour Villas Phase 2; Windsor Avenue; Ellerslie Pen; Spencer Lands; and Sydenham.
“There are 249 under-developed lots in the Succaba area. All these lots have been assigned by the Ministry, but the area lacks proper roads and sanitation. The housing units are shacks made by the individuals who occupy them. A plan is now being developed to provide units and infrastructure for these persons,” Mr Warmington said.
The MP also noted that the squatted section of Old Harbour Villas poses a real challenge. “Sanitation is at a very low level. There is no sewer collection system, no running water, no proper on-lot sewage disposal system, no roads or organised drainage,” Mr Warmington informed.
He however stated that it is estimated that somewhere in the order of 200 lots can be developed in this section if ownership is regularised.
On another matter, Mr. Warmington said the completion of the upper sections of the Old Harbour Glades will provide a number of much needed development lots for citizens.
The MP informed that the upper sections of the Old Harbour Glades, is the last underdeveloped portion of the lands in Old Harbour owned by the Ministry of Water and Housing “and must be developed for lower income earners as all the other developments were for middle and upper income earners.”
“This area can provide for 600 solutions comprising housing and serviced lots. With the implementation of the Old Harbour Glades Project and the upgrading of Succaba South, Succaba North, Burke Road/Africa, Marlie Acres and Old Harbour Villas Phase Two, there should be no more squatting in Old Harbour. That along with projects by private developers should solve the problem of housing in that area,” Mr. Warmington explained.
He also added that the housing programme has been and will continue to provide jobs for local people, predominantly men. “There will be a spin off that will provide a smaller number of jobs for women,” Mr Warmington said.