PM hands over keys to Spring City homeowners

PM hands over keys to Spring City homeowners
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert A. Minnis presented first time homeowners with the keys to their homes in the settlements of Spring City and Crossing Rocks. The ceremony, coordinated by the Ministry of the Environment and Housing was held Friday, May 17, 2019. Pictured from left are the Minister of the Environment and Housing the Hon. Romauld Ferreira; Janice Miller, Permanent Secretary, the Ministry of the Environment and Housing; Sinclair King, homeowner; Prime Minister Minnis; Okita Parks, homeowner; James Albury, Member of Parliament for South Abaco; LaFrance Williams, Ministry of the Environment and Housing; and Kyle Johnson, homeowner. (BIS Photo/Yontalay Bowe)

SPRING CITY, ABACO — Prime Minister Dr. Hubert A. Minnis presented first time homeowners with the keys to their homes in the settlements of Spring City and Crossing Rocks.

The ceremony, coordinated by the Ministry of the Environment and Housing, was held Friday, May 17, 2019.

Also present were the Minister of the Environment and Housing, Romauld Ferreira; Attorney General Carl Bethel; senior government officials and officials from the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation.

“It is a great pleasure to be here in Spring City, Abaco, for a day of celebration for residents of this community and for residents of Crossing Rock.

“Today is one of great relief for a number of individuals who have waited for years to either take possession of their homes and/or to receive their conveyances and deeds.

“Today, we celebrate, with joy, the realization of dreams and the fulfilment of hope.”

The Prime Minister presented house keys to Sinclair King, Kyle Johnson and Okita Parks, all residents of Spring City.

He advised residents of Crossing Rocks that the deeds and conveyances to their properties have been prepared and can be collected from the Office of the Prime Minister in Marsh Harbour.

Historically, Spring City began in 1958 as a future residential area for Bahamian employees of the Owens Illinois Company who were moving to Snake Cay from Grand Bahama.

As the lumber operation on Grand Bahama came to a close, houses were barged to Abaco and re-established in either Spring City or Lake City.

Spring City was named for the natural water springs that were present behind the settlement.

However, the passage of Hurricanes Floyd in 1999, and Frances and Jeanne in September 2004, saw the re-settlement of many Abaconians in the Spring City Settlement.

In 2008, the Government of The Bahamas transferred approximately 88 acres in Spring City to the Minister responsible for Housing to develop the Spring City Subdivision by putting in place needed infrastructure.

The target group for these lots was individuals and families from the communities of Spring City, Pigeon Pea and the Mud.

In 2011, the Minister responsible for Housing made provision for the construction of 56 homes in Spring City. However, only 38 were constructed.

This paved the way in 2013 for the completion of the remaining 18 houses.

“The construction of this portion of Spring City where we are today, began with a loan furnished by the National Insurance Board (NIB),” the Prime Minister said.

He noted, however, that the construction of houses in Spring City presented various challenges.

“Though the funds for completion were disbursed, none of the houses were completed,” he explained.

“The houses were left in various stages of completion but with no funds to complete the homes.

“Sadly, all of the funding for this project was paid out, but with no financial means of completing the 18 houses.”

As all funds borrowed from NIB were depleted, the Ministry of the Environment and Housing asked the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation (BMC), to use its money to complete the houses.

“This was to ensure the houses were completed in a timely manner (and not left to be vandalized) and were able to be sold. BMC hired reputable contractors who completed the work in a timely and efficient manner,” the Prime Minister said.

He commended the hardworking contractors who provided their services in meeting the timelines stipulated by the BMC.

The day’s events also highlighted the launching of the service lots initiative by this Government last year.

This program is intended to give Bahamians access to affordable homes through the transfer of land title to qualified candidates.

The serviced lots initiative has been extended throughout the Family of Islands with Central Pines Estate Extension being the first of the subdivisions under this program. There are 60 lots now available for sale.

The Prime Minister reminded residents of the concessions of this initiative in the form of exemptions from customs duties and excise taxes on all materials necessary for building a single-family dwelling home.

The Government is also working to assist potential Family Island homeowners on Bimini, Exuma, Eleuthera and San Salvador.

By Lindsay Thompson – Bahamas Information Services.