A total of 47 units have been officially handed over to residents of Rose Place, making way for their relocation in the coming months to Lowmans Bay to allow for work on the Port Modernisation Project that is set to get underway at Rose Place, Kingstown.
“What we’re here witnessing today, this afternoon, is the substantial completion of the construction component of the resettlement project which was designed to resettle residents of Rose Place who lived on the beachfront, on or before March 30 of 2019,” Lenski Douglas, Assistant Project Manager of the Port Modernisation Project said during his address at the handover of the houses yesterday, January 31.
“Prior to the commencement of works on site here,” Douglas noted, speaking from the site at Lowmans Bay, “the Port Modernisation project executed the resettlement consultancy towards the development of a Resettlement Action Plan to guide discussions on how ‘project affected’ persons will be addressed.”
After the Lowmans Bay Resettlement Project, “We will next be moving towards addressing the shops operated on the Rose Place beachfront, then the fisherfolk and storage unit owners.”
However, the assistant project manager clarified that there were still some finishing touches to be done on the site at Lowmans Bay.
“There is a stretch of road to be extended to allow for better traffic circulation on site, and a retaining wall to support the main road above the three bedroom structures to the front of the side location, and most importantly we have to have the utilities, electricity and water connected in the name of the new occupants,” Douglas told those in attendance.
“…But today we witness the result of focussed work of our main contractor, the Housing and Land Development Corporation (HLDC) which spanned over the past 16 months, a time period which commenced before the associated disruptions of COVID-19 and included the April 2021 eruptions [of] La Soufrière.”
This component of the project, Douglas said, was initially estimated at 4.47 million, but by the time it is completed the total expenditure will be 4.8 million Eastern Caribbean dollars.
“…A total of 28 structures are on site, comprising a mix of one and two bedroom duplexes, along with stand-alone three bedroom structures. A one bedroom unit is 320 sq ft, a two bedroom unit – it’s 500 sq ft, a three bedroom unit – it’s 725 sq ft. All units have: bathroom, bedroom, an open kitchen and sitting room, verandah, tiled shower, internal plumbing and electrical connection. Paved road access throughout the site.”
Preselected structures on site were built for those with physical challenges.
“Some affected residents had a house/shop unit in Rose Place. Partially elevated structures strategically placed on site were built to allow for future expansion and continued operation of their businesses,” the assistant project manager pointed out.
“These structures represent improved living conditions by far, compared to living on the beach, having to listen to the sound of pounding waves, especially when there is a bad weather advisory. Much improved sanitation conditions and privacy as well,” he also commented.
It is estimated that more than 210 suppliers found employment on the project.
Douglas said there was consultation with the ‘project affected’ residents, and noted that “It was the project affected residents who decided that the best way of distributing these housing units would be to have a random selection event. This event we concluded at the Kingstown Methodist Church Hall on Wednesday the 26th of January.”
Previously, vendors along the seawall at ‘Tokyo’ were compensated for the structures they had built there when asked to move as they were in the way of the project.
Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves was in attendance for the unveiling of what he said is the ‘second largest capital project in the history of the country’. He was the featured speaker.
Also present were Minister of airports and sea ports, Julian Francis; Minister of Housing, Orando Brewster; resident British Commissioner, Steve Moore; and Vice President of Operations at the Caribbean Development Bank, Isaac Solomon. The CDB and the United Kingdom are key partners in the Port Modernisation project.
Ten soon-to-be occupants of the new homes were also present to represent the entire group of new owners of the dwellings.
Minister Francis, in brief remarks, expressed appreciation to those involved, including Laura Anthony-Browne, head of the project management team; Lenski Douglas; the Chairman at HLDC, Dominic Sutherland; and general manager, Kenyatta Alleyne.
He said that they did a “wonderful” job despite the setbacks experienced.
Although keys were not handed over at yesterday’s ceremony, letters were given to the soon-to-be occupants.
“These letters confirm the offer of the lot which the project affected resident would have selected on Wednesday last. It details the procedure that we will follow to have the utilities, CWSA(Central Water and Sewerage Authority) water, and VINLEC (St Vincent Electricity Services Ltd) connected. We also have to sign an occupancy agreement for the structure. Once those three items are completed then the resident will receive his key and can then relocate over to Lowmans. We anticipate that this process would take up to at least the end of March of this year,” Douglas stated.