KINGSTON — Housing, Environment and Water Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says work will commence on 5,000 additional starter units this year, to increase the number of units being developed to 11,000 by the end of the 2011/12 fiscal year.
Development of the starter units, which forms part of the national housing programme, aims to address the incidence of informal settlements islandwide. The structures are basic units, which will enable owners to develop on them. Efforts are made to put basic infrastructure in place such as light, water, sewage and roads.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Hills of Boscobel housing development in St. Mary on Friday (July 29), Dr. Chang said the 5,000 additional units to be developed this year will add to the 6,000 already underway. Some 4,000 units are expected to be delivered during the course of this year.
The national housing programme, implemented largely through the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ), has sought to relocate persons, where necessary, and provide alternative living arrangements, whether serviced lots or housing units.
Dr, Chang said the Ministry has been collaborating "extensively" with the National Housing Trust (NHT) on the initiative, adding that input has also come from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).
He said that efforts are being made to see how best the private sector can be incorporated into the effort "to bring quality housing to the people of Jamaica, at an affordable price."
Some 258 housing solutions, comprising 159 serviced lots and 99 two-bedroom units, are to be developed under the Hills of Boscobel project at a cost of $803 million.
The development is being undertaken on 34.4 hectares of land situated 15 kilometres east of Ocho Rios and nine kilometres west of Port Maria. The NHT is providing approximately 85 per cent of the project's funding, with the HAJ putting up the remaining sum.
Work on the development is being undertaken by the firm, N.F. Barnes Construction and Equipment Company.
By Douglas McIntosh