A housing development in Dodds Plantation, St Philip is being created for squatters in another community in the parish as well as government workers.
Senior Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office with Responsibility for Coordinating Infrastructural Projects, Dr William Duguid announced on Tuesday that all systems had been put in place for the 48.43 acres of State lands to be placed in the hands of the National Housing Corporation (NHC) for residential, commercial and recreational purposes.
Speaking in the House of Assembly on a resolution to vest the lands in the NHC, Duguid said house spots would be allocated to squatters living in Rock Hall and government workers, including nurses, teachers and police officers.
The land, located north of Dodds Prison, will be renamed Concordia Gardens North.
Duguid said: “Planning permission for the sub-division was sought from June 17, 2020, and then after getting the subdivision, which took some time, we then actually had to go in, do the assessments for the roads, do the geotechnical surveys to design the roads and get that through the planning process as well.
“I am happy to report that after we have done that, we were able to design the road. The road has started and all of the infrastructure is in place, and all we now need to do is do the vesting so that we can then dispose of these lands to the people who will benefit from getting house spots and housing solutions in that area.”
He explained that the road infrastructure was delayed due to sludge from the careenage being dumped on land adjourning the planned development.
The minister said that out of an abundance of caution, environmental testing was conducted in the area where the sludge was dumped as well as the lands on which the new houses will be built.
“Those tests were sent to the University of the West Indies and their labs abroad to confirm them as well, and double testing, and what we found was that there was nothing that could cause any concern for the people that would be occupying the area.
“In addition, what we are doing with that area of land is that would become part of the green space because, obviously, when we do a development we must have a green space so people can have football, netball and all of those kinds of sports that need a green space, and also an area for people to walk and enjoy the area as well,” Duguid said.
During the Parliament session, Minister of Home Affairs Wilfred Abrahams said the housing development which is in the works is far enough from Dodds Prison not to be a security risk.