A government delegation on Thursday toured the Garden Villas community and the Heritage subdivision in Freeport, which are targeted as two of the initial housing projects to improve living conditions.
Minister of Housing and Urban Renewal Keith Bell and Minister of State in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Renewal Lisa Rahming led the team with Minister for Grand Bahama and Member of Parliament for Pineridge Ginger Moxey going door to door in the commonly known as “The Ghetto”.
“There is a lot of work that needs to be done,” said Moxey of the community in her constituency.
The once stylish apartment complex community constructed in the early 60s slowly fell into ruin over the years, with most of the buildings now in a state of disrepair, and the remaining tenants living without electricity, water and other necessities.
“I am so excited that they [Bell and Rahming] are here on Grand Bahama Island to really assess the situation on the ground,” Moxey said.
“The Garden Villas area requires a lot of issues to be addressed, and one of them is housing.
“You can see many of the dilapidated structures that exist and Minister Bell has made it a priority to focus on this area as one of the initial projects that we will undertake on this island.”
Moxey said the delegation also held meetings with representatives from the Grand Bahama Port Authority and the Grand Bahama Development Company.
“We also had tours at various facilities that will help us to carry out some of these projects we want to do.” she said.
A resident of Garden Villas, who did not want to give his name, while commending the ministers for coming into the community and speaking directly to the residents, said he hopes “something is done this time around”.
He continued, “I don’t have a problem with them, but don’t just come walking through and that’s it. I hope Mr. Bell does something for us with this housing project they have planned.”
Bell did not share any details of the government’s proposed housing project during the tour.
However, Moxey said, “I am excited that we will begin to see action because there is so much that our people have been going through. So we are working hand in hand – the Ministry for Grand Bahama and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Renewal – to ensure that we not only bring relief, but that we revitalize these communities.”
The next stop was the Heritage Subdivision, where the delegation viewed several acres of property and spoke with local housing officials.
The Heritage project was first talked about in May when then-Minister of Housing and Transportation JoBeth Coleby-Davis said that the government had secured 18 lots for its Affordable Homes Project in Grand Bahama.
During a visit to Grand Bahama at the time, she said, “A private owner has 18 lots (in Heritage subdivision) with all the infrastructure in place already; once we acquire that property, we should start home construction.”
She noted that an additional 100 lots would be acquired from the Grand Bahama Port Authority, but that those lots were not developed and did not have infrastructure such as light and water.
Construction has not started on the Heritage Subdivision project as yet and officials did not give a timeline when work will begin.