Local group proposed lowest cost to govt.
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — While the $6.4 million family relief city to house storm victims in Abaco did not go out to a 30-day tender, Disaster Relief and Reconstruction Committee Chairman John Michael Clarke said the proposal from Brickell Management represented the lowest cost.
He said the price tag, which includes clearing land, construction and infrastructure was nearly half that of another local proposal of $12 million.
“So, what happened with the dome solution, there was actually a — our committee met —private sector committee, and what people don’t know is from the time of the storm, we were receiving offers to provide shelter and a lot of these offers were per person, per day offers,” said Clarke, who appeared on Guardian Radio’s “The Revolution” with host Juan McCartney.
“A lot of the foreign contractors would say look, we can set up a living city for you in two weeks.
“You are in the midst of a disaster and somebody comes to you and says look, ‘I can give you relief for $253 per person, per day’. Somebody actually came to me and made that offer. That was a $12 million a month offer. Somebody else came and said forget that $253, we can do it for $179. That is an $8 million per month, or whatever it was. We had to act very, very quickly.
“By committee what we are doing in the midst of all of those offers and I had a huge stack of them, we had to find a resilient solution very, very quickly. The reason why we chose this solution is this is a $6 million solution. It is being done pretty much at cost, the total install cost — clear the property, infrastructure, domes — $6.4 million. In the midst of the many offers that we had to respond to very quickly, we chose that offer. It was a local offer. It was less than any other local offers we had gotten and we did get another local offer and that was $12 million.
He added: “To be clear, you are in an emergency. You have to find a housing solution quickly; you’ve got to plan one quickly. There was no 30-day tender and notice.”
Thousands were displaced by the Category 5 storm on September 1-3.
According to Clarke, the first batch of 40 units will arrive in Abaco on November 14, and take three to four hours per unit to construct.
He suggested the government is considering charging a nominal fee for rent after a free period, though that period had not been determined.
Each unit can accommodate up to four adults.
Clarke, who is an engineer by profession, noted the family relief city is being outfitted with infrastructure in the same way as a subdivision.
“And the domes themselves are placed on plots of land,” Clarke said.
“You will have all of that stuff, all of the right infrastructure.
“…The prime minister has already said that the life of the dome — these are temporary structures; they are supposed to be for 24 months — if we remove a dome from a plot in 24 months that is a service lot ready to be used. Someone can build on it. And that’s the idea.”
As to who will live in the family relief, Clarke said discussions are ongoing with policymakers, social services, NEMA, the community and other stakeholders.
“Social services, they are putting together at this time a consolidated impact list where all of the persons in Abaco and Grand Bahama who have been impacted, we try to consolidate that into one master impact list, and from that list they would assign vulnerabilities like this person has four kids, a single mother, an elderly person…” he said.
Clarke said the process of registering with social services was ongoing.
Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Recovery and Restoration Iram Lewis has said those facilities will be occupied by Bahamians and documented individuals, but not how people will be selected.
The domes will become the property of NEMA, according to Clarke.
As it relates to Grand Bahama, Clarke said officials were still seeking to find the right housing solution.
“You know there are cert challenges we are facing legacy, issue of legacy properties, how exactly we are going to rebuild and provide housing. That’s something that we are actively working on. I wish I could sit here and tell you I will have an answer tomorrow.”