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No master plan for housing project

Govt can’t commit to previously stated cost of Prospect Ridge land

The Minnis administration did not draw up a master development plan for the much-touted Prospect Ridge development for young professionals, despite promising that applicants would be notified by October 15, Minister of Transport and Housing JoBeth Coleby-Davis said yesterday. 

“As it relates to the very popular Prospect Ridge project, we have a number of meetings as it relates to this project with my technical team and they also went out to a site visit for me to determine where we are and how we can respond to the demands that presently exist and all of the applications that we presently have,” Coleby-Davis said.

“Unfortunately, there is a lot of groundwork that must be done that has yet to be started as it pertains to that project — work related to a master plan. I’ve spoken to the company that was previously engaged by the former administration and absolutely nothing has been done yet.

“In fact, they got a letter advising them that they were awarded this project probably about two, three days before the election. So, nothing has been done in terms of creating a master plan to do the work at Prospect Ridge, to begin to draw out how it will actually look.”

Former Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis previously showed a concept sketch plan for the development in the House of Assembly.

When asked about this yesterday, Coleby-Davis said, “There is a requirement to have a master plan and proper renderings that need to come forth that actually show you how you will utilize the land which is designated for the Prospect Ridge project. That is the plan I will be working from, not a sketch.”

She said no feasibility study and no topography study have been conducted.

Coleby-Davis said the government is not yet in the position to determine the infrastructural cost of the project.

She said the government believes it will be “great but that is yet to be determined because we will get all that information from the feasibility and the topography study”.

“We have a lot of groundwork to do,” Coleby-Davis said.

“My technical team is building itself up, so that we can provide the right information to Cabinet and to the Bahamian public, so we can produce if we are actually able to go forward with the project, which we are hoping and we’re confident that we will be able to do this development, but it may not be able to be in the time that originally was provided because we want to be sure that these studies are completed and we have enough information to determine cost and timing for the Bahamian public.”

Minnis had repeatedly touted the project as great news for young professionals, mentioning it repeatedly on the campaign trail.

The community was expected to have 300 lots. Parliament approved a resolution in April to allow for the development of the land.

Under the Minnis administration’s stipulations, the purchase of land in the community would be limited to first-time homeowners between 18 and 45 who are Bahamian citizens and currently live in The Bahamas.

The plan featured multi-family lots for $50,000 and single-family lots for $40,000.

When asked yesterday if the cost for the lots will be higher than what was promised by the previous administration, Coleby-Davis replied, “My technical team, we are still trying to figure out where that cost came from because nothing has actually been done. So, I don’t know if that was really a realistic picture of what the cost would look like.

“And so, I would say at the moment, we cannot commit to what was previously announced. I want to have all the information with me, so when I do tell the Bahamian public — and those who have applied — what the actual cost is, I’m confident that we can give them that price.” 

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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