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By Elesha George 

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Construction work on the EC$100M urban renewal project for the Booby Alley area is slated to begin in the first quarter of 2021.

Handfuls of residents are expected to be relocated to their temporary accommodations within the next two weeks, according to Public Works Minister, Lennox Weston, who said that completion of at least 22 pre-fab houses are in the “end stage.”

“We’re going to have 22 houses ready within the next two weeks. We are going to put families in those, and others we are going to put in apartments around the area” … They are going to sell what can be sold, they are going to move what can be moved, and they are going to scrap what needs scrapping,” he said.

About 20 to 30 people will occupy these houses which are being built on Crown land at Bay Street and on Reginald Stevens Street on the outskirts of St John’s City.

Some persons will be moved to apartments around the city while others will move their homes to selected vacant lots for the next 18 months while the project progresses.

Once the two-acre site is cleared, the Chinese-funded project will see the construction of 150 new accommodations in the area. 

In October 2018, the government accepted a grant from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to construct 250 homes – 50 of which will be erected in the Booby Alley area, 50 in Bolans and another 50 on Barbuda.

The minister said that ordering and constructing these prefab homes was the cheapest solution to accommodate the temporary relocation of the first set of residents.

Meanwhile, the Public Works Ministry will work alongside the Solid Waste Authority to remedy environmental concerns and waste-water management issues that were discussed during an hour-long meeting this week.

According to Weston, the Authority has suggested the construction of a waste digester with multiple chambers and a dry well to make the waste output safe for release into the environment.

The site clearing is expected to be completed by January 31, 2021.

“It will then take approximately two years for the replacement housing to be constructed, and most of the residents returned to living in an upgraded housing project,” our Cabinet notes disclosed.

The project has had minor setbacks including a staged protest by one family, with the support of some residents from the area, who for months, refused to relocate.

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