The Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) is aiming to complete the construction of 10 housing units at Onderneeming, West Bank Demerara by early April as it continues its efforts to provide affordable housing solutions to Guyanese.
During a tour of the construction site, which was facilitated by the CH&PA yesterday, it was explained that the structures, which are elevated two-bedroom housing units with 670 square feet of livable space, carry a price tag of $8 million each.
According to CH&PA Engineer Deron McKinnon, all the buildings have the same design and would be constructed using the same methods. “We are doing it all around the country. This is the second area, with Providence being the other. At the moment, there are no duplexes for the area,” he said.
It was explained that the units were scheduled to be completed in March but there was a delay, which was caused by rain. Nevertheless, the CH&PA is confident that the units will be completed by early April.
It was noted that four companies have been contracted to build the units. These are: General Contracting, JPM General Construction and Engineering Services, Ivor Allen and Platinum Investments.
McKinnon also noted that the current designs allow the prospective homeowners the option of extending if they so desire.
“We are just making sure that once someone gets this place, it’s going to be livable and they are going to be comfortable doing what they want to do,” he added.
Stabroek News was told that in addition to the 10 units currently under construction, an additional nine, comprising two and three-bedroom units, will commence within the next two weeks.
According to Omar Narine, Director of Projects at the CH&PA, the potential nine will be the “flat version” of the current units being constructed and will be between 600 and 900 square feet. However, the prices for those units have not yet been set.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CH&PA Lelon Saul, who was also present during the tour, explained that the construction of the units forms part of the agency’s 2018 target to deliver 247 housing units across the country at Onderneeming, Bath Experiment, Perseverance and Cummings Lodge
“Also, during this year, it is our intention to allocate 1,000 service lots across the country; that will be happening at Perseverance, Cummings Lodge and Providence Garden, which was formerly known as the re-migrant scheme where we have recommenced the allocation of house lots there,” he added.
The CEO also disclosed that an additional 750 houses will be delivered via public/private partnerships before noting that information on that project will be provided at a later date.
Meanwhile, Director of Operations at the CH&PA Denise King-Tudor, detailing the application process for persons interested in owning one of the homes, explained that it begins with them submitting an application to the CH&PA, after which they would be interviewed.
Thereafter, the CH&PA will move to have applicants prequalified in terms of being eligible for purchase of one of the units that are being constructed in Onderneeming or at the other areas. Once that is completed, a letter will be issued that the applicant can take to their preferred bank.
From there, if the applicant has been prequalified by the bank, the letter is sent back to the agency and the applicant is placed on a waiting list.
“Once we are ready to proceed in terms of selling of the properties, we will invite you and thereafter you will be required to pay the initial deposit, which is dependent on the amount that the applicant has been prequalified for by the bank,” King-Tudor said.
“…We are encouraging interested persons to come and visit the locations; come and see what we are doing. Be a part of the process from the inception and so you can come and see and talk to the engineer on the ground, [or the] clerk of works and they would be able to advise you in terms of what is happening with the building. At the end of the day, I think that families and individuals will be happy as they acquire or purchase the units from us,” she added.
Additionally, with regard to other areas of focus for the CH&PA, Narine explained that electrical works are also slated for Lust-en-Rust and Recht door Zee, where there are on-going projects. These works, he said, will commence in another week or so.
“For this year we have a potential $300 million in infrastructural works and that’s it for Parfaite Harmonie for 2018,” he added.
He mentioned that as of December 2017, the CH&PA would have completed $40 million worth of infrastructural upgrading projects. This, included the upgrading of various deteriorated roads in Parfaite Harmonie.
However, Stabroek News understands that the CH&PA is aggressively engaging the NDC to take over those roads so that they can assume responsibility for the necessary maintenance.