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JIS News

Ground has been broken in the Old Harbour Bay community of St. Catherine for the construction of a new housing scheme by the Office of National Reconstruction (ONR) in partnership with the Government of Venezuela, to relocate 120 persons who were severely affected by Hurricane Ivan last September.
The ground-breaking ceremony took place on Thursday (July 21) in the Bourkesfield area of Old Harbour Bay.
“These are pre fab houses and they go up very quickly, we are going to put in roads, light, water everything and we’re going to put in a post office . because what we’re trying to build is a community, something that we can be proud of,” head of the ONR, Danville Walker explained to the residents.
Mr. Walker also mentioned that the size of the lot on which the houses were to be constructed was between 6,000 and 8,000 square feet.
The ONR chief highlighted and commended the contribution made by the Venezuelan Government, pointing out that a contingent of Venezuelan soldiers who had been in the island since last year assisting with the Hurricane Ivan recovery process would be an integral part of the construction process. He informed that they would build 75 of the 120 houses while the ONR would build the remaining 45 houses.
Mr. Walker noted that while the houses were considered to be a gift they were not entirely free, as residents would be required to make a contribution over a set period to the cost of the infrastructural work such as the establishment of electricity, water and roads. He noted however, that the cost to the residents had not yet been determined.
The project is expected to cost some J$70 million, with each house containing two bedrooms and one bathroom. The infrastructural work will also include a sewerage disposal system, which will serve the neighbouring community of Blackwood Gardens. Work on the project is expected to commence during the week of July 24 -31 and is scheduled for completion by December 2005.
Three similar such communities are being constructed across the island for persons severely affected by Hurricane Ivan. These are in the Rocky Point and Portland Cottage communities of Clarendon and Brighton in Westmoreland.