Resilient community could be model for Abaco subdivision development
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis stepped away from the CARICOM Inter-Sessional Meeting on Wednesday to view first-hand a sustainable housing community that could be used as a model for the Government’s planned housing development project on Abaco.
The Prime Minister toured the Villages at Coverley, a modern housing development located in Christ Church. The community features low- to middle-cost energy-efficient homes built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, a 5.0 earthquake, storm surges and major flooding. The fully planned development also offers residents a medical centre, gym, restaurants, stores, recreation centres and sports fields.
“This is a model that we can learn from when it comes to developing our own sustainable housing project for Abaco, and eventually other areas,” said Prime Minister Minnis.
“This development offers a realistic example of what a properly planned sustainable community could look like in The Bahamas. The homes are affordable, resilient and can withstand the shocks associated with climate change.”
The Prime Minister received a tour of the Villages at Coverley from the development’s managing director, Mark Maloney.
The Abaco housing project is part of the Government’s Hurricane Dorian Reconstruction Priority. Thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed by the Category 5 storm in September 2019.
The first phase of the project is already underway. Currently Crown Land is being surveyed in Spring City and Wilson City, and more property is being identified near Marsh Harbour, for the development of housing subdivisions.
The second phase of the development will include the installation of the necessary infrastructure, to be funded by donor grants.
For the third phase, the Government plans to enter into a public private partnership for home construction on the designated Crown Land. The homes will be constructed to meet The Bahamas Building Code Third Edition and reinforced with climate resilient standards.
“By using this approach, we will be able to keep costs down and offer homes to Bahamians at a much more affordable rate,” Prime Minister Minnis explained. “The cost to prospective homeowners would not include the value of the land and cost for installation of infrastructure.”
Because storm-affected areas have been designated Special Economic Recovery Zones, the cost of importation of equipment and materials for private reconstruction will be significantly reduced, and prospective owners will be able to leverage equity in land and infrastructure to qualify for mortgages, noted the Prime Minister.
“We want to develop affordable and resilient housing communities to withstand increasingly strong hurricanes, flooding, storm surges and other natural disasters,” said Prime Minister Minnis.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Minnis also had a bilateral meeting with Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Patricia Scotland to discuss matters of mutual interest, including the progress of the Hurricane Dorian reconstruction effort.