JIS News

Minister of Water and Housing, Dr. Horace Chang, on March 14, officially launched the Meadows of Irwin Housing Development in Montego Bay, a new scheme to be undertaken by Can-Cara Development Limited.
The project is aimed at providing some 800 housing solutions on approximately 147 acres of land in the Irwin area of St. James. In his address, Dr. Chang said that one of the initiatives of the government would be to facilitate developments of this nature, by putting legislation in place to speed up the approval process.
“We want to make the planning approval process, especially for residential areas, within 90 days,” he pointed out.
The Minister pointed out that if enough housing solutions are developed, people would not be inclined to squat.
He said that the most recent survey done by the University of Technology (UTech) two years ago, identified some 655 informal settlements across the island, adding that the amount should be about 700 today.
“Some 270 of these can be identified on the North coast, and the ones on the north coast are usually much bigger than those in the Corporate Area,” he noted.
Dr. Chang said the situation was of great concern to the government, which is moving speedily to formalize some of these communities, and to improve the quality of life of the residents, using various mechanisms.
He outlined some of the strategies being implemented, citing the total refocusing of the National Housing Trust (NHT), to concentrate on its core business of providing housing solutions for its contributors; the aggressive use of statutes in place to prevent the further proliferation of informal settlements; and the continued implementation of worthwhile programmes that are already in place within the Ministry.
The Minister pointed out that despite the dysfunctional culture in some of the informal communities, several professionals, including clerks and middle managers, originate from them.

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