Letters & Opinion

People’s Manifesto: Housing

Image of John Peters
By John Peters

SUCCESSIVE governments have failed to bring meaningful change to the housing sector. It is clear that the policies on housing in Saint Lucia have failed miserably and the opportunities that are available in economic and social development are lost.

We are of the opinion that a sound housing policy is the platform for economic growth. The development of a housing policy begins with an understanding of our demographics. Over 92,000 persons live in Castries and Gros Islet combined, which represents close to 60 % of our population. There has to be a deliberate policy to create new towns and cities within the country. Carellie is a clear example of a new area created by the intervention of a housing programme.

We propose to focus our housing programme in Dennery and Micoud and to transform these two communities into major commercial and residential centres. Dennery and Micoud will be the new cities of Saint Lucia. We see these areas as the best locations for significant investment in housing. Our two airports and seaports are linked by the East Coast Road which passes through these communities. Castries and Vieux Fort are our two main commercial centres at this point, and thus if Dennery and Micoud are developed you will find internal migration occurring and a spreading out of the population over this corridor.

With the locations defined, the housing solutions to create this revolution need to be developed. The housing solutions are a combination of the following:
• Housing development where 30% of the lots are seeded with single family new houses
• High density development within each development
• Rent to own programmes
• Duty Free concessions for first time home owners

Dennery to share focus on housing
Dennery to share focus on housing

The next step is to develop the agencies to execute these plans. The present National Housing Corporation needs a complete overhaul, and the restructuring has to create an institution that is relevant to the policy shift.

The specifics of the new policy are as follows;

The high rise structures in Castries that are historically called the CDC, must be viewed as a critical component of urban renewal. Firstly all the structures on Jeremie Street will be demolished and the space used for a multi-storey carpark as part of the urban renewal of Castries.

Secondly, those buildings on the Darling Road and Jn Baptiste Street would become part of a rent to own programme. The Buildings will be refurbished and those who have rental arrangements at this stage will be given an opportunity to convert to the rent to own programme. The rent to own programme involves a present tenant signing a new contract in which 25% of their present rent goes towards a down payment.

After a period of five years the accumulated sum is used by the tenant in obtaining a loan for the purchase of the unit. The St Lucia Mortgage and Finance Ltd will be used as the vehicle for the mortgages. We believe ownership brings empowerment.

Dennery will be the focus of the creation of a new city. The intention is to build 1000 new houses over a 10 year period in the Morne Panache to Praslin corridor. Three locations within that corridor will be selected. In each location three projects will be developed. Every year a minimum of 100 housing units in total will be constructed in the three locations. In the first year the focus will be Bois Jolie, Grand Riviere and La Caye. Within each development there will be lots allocation for day care centres, human resource development centres and commercial use. We are confident that once these developments get going the business sector will see the opportunities and we shall see the supermarkets, malls, and hardware stores beginning to be established.

Micoud will be the second new major city created. Once again the intention is to build 1000 new houses over a 10 year period in the Praslin to Anse Ger corridor. Similarly, 100 units per year over the next 10 years, with the 100 units spread over three locations.

The development will all be seeded with between 30% -50% of housing units and the rest of the lots sold as serviced lots. First time home owners will be given duty free concessions to pursue the construction of their dream home.

We plan a housing revolution, one that brings significant economic activity, job creation and most valuable social infrastructure.

1 Comment

  1. One maybe two High Rise buildings would be sufficient to house the whole lot
    of these people in the little huts shown in that picture. Surely, you couldn’t sell
    that to any of the politician of today, because it may not make any sense to them.
    All these huts at the water front are at risk in the event of a small quake; God help them.

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