Audit to determine the value of properties in Booby Alley is still ongoing

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The audit to determine the value of the private properties in the Booby Alley area is still on-going, this is according to Assistant to Prime Minister Gaston Browne, Hyacinth Lewis.
This is one of the first phases that has to be completed before the government can proceed with the planned development for the area.
Lewis said because of the sensitivity of the information that is required, her team has been working along with the Statistics Department, Lands and Surveys Department and Inland Revenue.
“It is important that persons are comfortable, that is, there has to be an agreement of minds as to the property size and its value. It will not happen overnight but we are in the process of getting it done. The surveys and the assessments have begun and we have spoken to all the residents involved,” Lewis said.
The government will be constructing condominium-style homes, as part of an Urban Renewal programme that is expected to give residents an opportunity to own better housing. The houses, to be built in Booby Alley, will be made available to residents there and also squatters in Perry Bay who will move over time from their location.
The project, comprising mainly of rental properties, will be heavily subsidised, however, Booby Alley residents with private homes will be given credit for their existing homes.
The government expects to spend in excess of $20 million on the redevelopment project. In a previous interview, Prime Minister Gaston Browne stated that he was hoping to secure a $13.5 million grant from the government of Mexico that would be used to build the units.
Last Thursday, the government received a EC$ 100 million grant from the People’s Republic of China to go towards the construction of at least 150 homes.
Meanwhile, Lewis also explained that homeowners in Booby Alley are still a bit hesitant about the pending development, at the same time, she stated that the government’s team is doing its best to allay the fears.
“It is the first time this is being done in Antigua and what people are not aware of, they are not comfortable with, so we went, sat on the steps, sat in the houses, held the babies and spoke to the people. We assured them of what we are offering,” Lewis said.

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