Gov’t encouraged to put more thought into housing development

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Government has been informed there are several components which have to be considered in its plan to purchase private lands for further housing developments.
The recommendation from Sustainable Development Economist Atherton Martin came in the wake of news that the House of Representatives has approved government getting a loan of EC $6.2 million from the Global Bank of Commerce (GBC) for housing.
According to Prime Minister Gaston Browne, 28 acres of land for housing development will be purchased at Hodges Bay and in Thibous. Parliament passed the resolution last week without debate.
Martin said the first step is to determine the suitability of the lands that are to be used for development, the cost and benefits to the developer, the government and to the society.
“What’s going to be the cost of not just building? What is it going to cost to maintain structures built in an upscale neighbourhood? Where is the income? Are the people going to be put there going to be assured of sufficient income so that they will have, in fact, the capacity to maintain the quality of the neighbourhood?”
The economist further queried, ”What is going to be the technological impact of buildings on, something that Antigua does not have a lot of, water. Where are you going to put water? Does APUA have the capabilities to deliver regular reliable sources of water to upscale neighbourhoods; if not, what are the options?”
Martin suggested these are considerations that “any serious and clear thinking governance structure in a country would want to
take into account, so you don’t place people at a disadvantage when you are appearing to give them a hand up.”
The sustainable development economist also added that if the idea is to give equal opportunity for all citizens to own land, then they must be included in the process along with the government.

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