The government on Friday unveiled a project that it says will provide state of the art apartments for residents of the east and southeastern parts of Dominica who were affected by Hurricane Maria.
Spanning four constituencies, the apartments will be, according to the government, hurricane and seismic resistant, modern, high-end and will be surpassing apartments found in London and New York City.
Meetings were held with the residents of Delice and Riviere Cyrique on the project on Friday and Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said a total 400 apartment units will be constructed under the project which will be undertaken by Montreal Management Consultants Est (MMCE).
“You here in Delice and La Plaine, I believe you will receive about 133, 135 of those in the first instance,” he said. “So 135 families soon will have a new home given to them by the Government of Dominica to house their families in a safe place.”
He said further that funds received from the World Bank will go towards housing.
“The World Bank as you know has given us US$115-million and US$50-million of that is grants, which means we don’t have to pay it back and the government,” Skerrit said. “The cabinet has decided to set aside US$40-million which is EC$104-million to go to housing, to build more home for people because the intention of the government is to build about 5,000 homes in Dominica to ensure that every one of us, irrespective of our station in life can have a house or home to call our own and that is the intention of the government.”
MP for La Plaine, Petter Saint Jean, told the meeting that the project will bring ‘radical transformation’ to the constituency.
“Consider with me one moment the radical transformation that is about to take place here at Fond Toma in Delice and the old public works site in La Plaine with the erection of these two massive structures,” he stated. “Two apartment buildings shall be constructed at Fond Toma between the school and the hard court and two in La Plaine on the site of the old public works at La Plaine.”
He also said that contracts have been signed for the construction of 12 one and two bedroom homes.
“$530,000 have been approved by my Prime Minister, your Prime Minister, our Prime Minister and your government for the construction of three homes in Delice, three in Boetica and six in La Plaine,” he stated.
He said the apartments will be modern and state of the art and will involve other parts of the constituency such as Riviere Cyrique.
“Ladies and gentlemen, you put your confidence in us,” he said at the Riviere Cyrique meeting. “And today your government, your Prime Minister and the cabinet of Dominica is delivering to you the kind of housing that we have never seen here in the Commonwealth of Dominica. In fact, it surpasses that which you can find in the middle of London, England or New York City.”
Meanwhile, Project Manager of the Montreal Consultanting Establishment Christopher Timmins said the structures will be hurricane resistant.
“Each apartment block which we are going to build is designed to be hurricane resistant, each designed to be seismic resistant. It will have laminated safety glass, impact resistant…” he explained. “Each building is going to contain four three bedroom units, just over 1,100 square feet. It will contain 22 bedroom units of 870 square feet approximately and nine one-bedroom units of just under 600 square feet. To bring that into perspective to people because square feet is difficult to imagine, a standard two-bedroom house in the United Kingdom is 600 square feet, so you are getting a two bedroom apartment here which is 35 percent larger.”
He described the housing project as ‘not cheap.’
“This is not cheap housing, this is not social site housing, this is good quality housing designed to go into the next century,” he said.
He promised that the structures will withstand the worst nature has to throw at them.
“I am not going to stand here and say that it won’t get some impact damage or might lose some gutter if we have another Maria but it will be habitable afterward, of that I am confident,” Timmins said.
The project will include the Kalinago Territory, Castle Bruce, Grand Fond, Morne Jaune, Riviere Cyrique, Delice and La Plaine.
MMCE is the company responsible for the construction of houses at Bellevue Chopin to re-locate the inhabitants of Petite Savanne who were displaced by the passage of Tropical Storm Erika.
Recently MMCE unveiled housing projects for Picard in Portsmouth and Roseau. The one in Portsmouth will be named “Phoenix City” and the one in Roseau will be called the Roseau City Square.
MMCE is a government authorized agent for Dominica’s citizenship by investment program.