Prime Minister, Dr. Hubert Minnis took his government’s promise of providing the means for Bahamians to access affordable housing to the fast-growing economy of Abaco on Friday, May 25.
It was the first Family Island to be canvassed for the proposed project, the details of which were outlined in the Access to Affordable Homes Bill, 2018 by the prime minister in the House of Assembly (HOA) on May 8.
The inspection of Crown Land to be used for the government housing subdivisions took place in Spring City, Crossing Rocks, Central Pines and Murphy Town.
Dr. Minnis was accompanied by the Minister of the Environment and Housing Romauld Ferreira; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Member of Parliament for North Abaco Darren Henfield; Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for South Abaco, Christopher Albury; Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for West Grand Bahama and Bimini, Pakesia Parker Edgecombe; Elaine Martinborough, Department of Housing, Abaco, and other officials.
The government’s mission is to provide service-ready land at reduced costs, the prime minister said, adding that properties have been identified for subdivision development and for the sale of residential serviced lots in New Providence, Andros, Abaco, Exuma and San Salvador. The first serviced lots in New Providence will be available for sale in June of this year.
“The new housing program will also encourage second home ownership in the Family Islands,” he said.
While in Spring City, the prime minister and the team observed a number of homes constructed but not occupied due to controversy surrounding alleged non-payment to contractors.
Dr. Minnis said that it is the responsibility of the government to go after contractors who were paid, but have not completed the jobs. And he warned that contractors would be placed on a “stop list” until the situation is resolved.
A section of Crossing Rocks was developed following the devastating Hurricane Floyd in 1999, when the then government relocated displaced residents from the shoreline to that settlement. Prime Minister Minnis said his government would continue to uphold that promise and create access to affordable homes for residents there.
“The plan is to develop one subdivision per year, and allow the young populace to purchase land at affordable prices,” he said.
“We have a lot of Bahamians throughout the islands who wish to own their own homes but are unable to afford to.”
The government also aims to pass on tremendous savings to homeowners. The average lot that will be sold has a value of $100,000 will be sold for approximately $30,000.
Certain material for home building will be duty free, which may save homeowners approximately an additional $30,000 to $40,000.
The government is further seeking to provide concessions on other material such as solar panels, as part of its long-term vision for large-scale use of renewable energy.
An essential feature of the proposed housing program is that homeowners may choose their own contractors and monitor the work of their contractors. This provides great flexibility and control.
This article was written by LINDSAY THOMPSON, Bahamas Information Services.