Work being carried out in Garden Land, St. Michael. (Ministry of Housing and Lands)

With housing, or as Bajans like to say ???owning a piece of de rock’ being one of the priority areas for Government, the Ministry of Housing and Lands is continuing to push its mandate of looking after the housing needs of the people by way of its Housing and Neighbourhood Upgrading Programme (HNUP).

It targets neighbourhoods for comprehensive enhancement that present a combination of issues in relation to housing and infrastructure.

One such neighbourhood reaping the benefits of the HNUP is Garden Land, St. Michael, an old residential district associated with single-unit wooden and masonry structures, located on the outskirts of the city of Bridgetown.??

Project Officer, Janelle Nembhard, explained that the HNUP includes the upgrading of infrastructure, house improvements through increasing the accessibility of financing to lower income earners; and community building and involvement.?? She added that there were several existing conditions and issues found in the Garden Land community.

"There is a need for the provision of sewerage to the relatively flat site; a need to widen and resurface roads; the need to set up storm water drainage; more open recreational space; and additional street lighting and the provision of natural gas," she asserted.

Explaining that the Garden Land site was currently not connected to any sewerage treatment system with the exception of a small number of houses located on Country Road, St. Michael, the Project Officer pointed out that this particular site lies at the northern edge of the existing Bridgetown sewerage catchment.

She noted it was proposed that the area would be connected to the Bridgetown Sewerage Treatment Plant under the programme.

"The general flat topography which in some areas falls away from the existing sewer main on Country Road is essential in order to construct a small lift station (pump station) to allow sewerage from the community to be lifted in the existing sewerage network," she stressed.

In relation to the widening and surfacing of roads, she said: "Surfaced roads with slipper drains and kerbs exist throughout the area, but the roads need resurfacing and widening in places, particularly at key blind junctions." she added that attention would be paid to reducing the traffic conflicts in the area as well as minimising the use of the community road network as shortcuts from Country Road, and improving street lighting.

Noting that the community does suffer from standing water during heavy rain, partly due to on-site problems, the HNUP officer revealed that the existing storm drainage system would be improved as part of road works, while the functioning of the main drainage canal to the north east of the site would be reviewed and corrected as necessary.

Funded by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Barbados Government to the tune of $3.9 million and set to be completed in June this year, Mrs. Nembhard outlined that the project scope for Garden Land consisted of not only implementing the connections to the Bridgetown Sewerage Treatment system but also the construction of sanitary conveniences (bathroom additions) for nine households located within that vicinity, with approximately 164 households scheduled for connection to the sewerage system.

She disclosed that land would be acquired to facilitate the accommodation of a septic tank and soak away which would service three houses independently.

"There are three houses located below the level of the roadway in the area of Skeetes Road which do not allow for gravity to carry the waste towards the sewerage mains, hence the need to purchase the land.

"Also, we are looking to acquire a second portion of land intended to accommodate a Lift station (pump Station, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); and this will allow for the waste produced from the approximately 160 households within the Garden Land Project area to flow towards the existing sewerage mains along Country Road," the Project Officer explained.

It is proposed that Natural Gas mains will be laid and this utility will be supplied to the residents within the Project boundary.?? This work will require that excavation of trenches be performed thus disturbing the existing road surface, and as a result, the disturbed roads will be resurfaced to complete the implementation of the upgrade.

The work is part of the Housing and Neighbourhood Upgrading Programme. (Ministry of Housing and Lands)

Giving an overall account of the renovation, the HNUP officer stated that all sites to be upgraded either have a deficiency or lack such basic services as street improvement; access both for pedestrians and emergency vehicles; sanitation; street lighting; refuse collection; flood protection; security of tenure; reduced fire risks and play grounds and open spaces.

"This programme includes upgrading of infrastructure, house improvements through increasing the accessibility of financing to lower income earners and community building and involvement.??

"We really want to improve the lives for people in the Garden Land community and through the Ministry of Housing and Land’s, Housing and Neighbourhood Upgrading Programme, we hope to not only improve the quality of their lives but others who would qualify under this programme," she emphasised.

The Project Loan document states that Neighbourhood Upgrading includes: the improvement of several sites aimed at starting up a national neighbourhood programme, focused on periurban and rural sites; and urban rehabilitation of two inner city neighbourhoods in the Bridgetown area.


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