It has taken over four decades to get to this phase but when the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) completes the third phase of its housing development project at Hothersal Turning, St Michael in another two years, it will have provided 56 homes for teachers and other Barbadians.
BUT President Pedro Shepherd proudly announced the revival of the project this morning in brief remarks at a road-naming ceremony on the housing site where two roads were named after Edwena Armstrong and Carl Springer, two BUT stalwarts and trustees.
Giving the history of the project, Shepherd recalled that the 12.5 acre site of the housing development was acquired 40 years ago by two late BUT presidents, John Cumberbatch and Marjorie Marshall.
He recalled that after several hiccups, another visionary BUT president, Karen Best, sought ten years ago to develop the land for residential housing, along with conference and commercial facilities.
Shepherd said it was Best’s ambition to have the $13 million project completed in time for Cricket World Cup in 2007. However, those plans fell through because the union had no money and the terms and conditions for accessing funding were too steep and not in the union’s best interest.
He identified Town Planning stipulation that a sewage treatment plant had to be constructed at an estimated cost of $1 million as another hurdle which the union had to overcome in order to make the development a reality.
Shepherd lamented, however, that after spending the $1 million, the plant now sits on the project site as “a white mildewed elephant”.
He said the Barbados Water Authority also presented some challenges in getting documents moving to ensure compliance with Town Planning requirements, particularly in phase two of the project, which has four phases altogether.
Shepherd recalled that just before he assumed the leadership of the BUT, the project had come to a halt and further adjustments had to be made.
At that point, it was decided that Best’s ambitious plans for the construction of apartments, townhouses and an auditorium could not be undertaken.
Phase two, therefore, was reconfigured to consist of 16 service lots on which the union would build homes using the services of Ajax Construction. However, the Apex project fell through because in order to get Town Planning approval, the road, water and lighting had to be installed first.
This morning, Shepherd gave prospective home owners the assurance that the project was back on track and ready to take off again.
In brief remarks at the ceremony, Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley commended the union for its initiative to honour two of its stalwarts by naming roads in the development after them.
The Member of Parliament for St Philip North said that by so doing, the BUT had mirrored an ongoing effort in the Ministry of Transport and Works to name public roads, highways, roundabouts and buildings throughout the country after persons who have made contributions to the country.