Newly relocated homeowner, Coral??Alleyne, sharing a moment in her new unit with Christ Church East Representative, Dr. Denis Lowe (left) and Minister of Housing and Lands, Michael??Lashley. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Six homeowners who were displaced as part of the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) Expansion Project, have received the keys to their new houses at Leadvale, Christ Church.

The official handover was held yesterday, at Leadvale, where some previous residents of Thyme Bottom and Parish Land were presented with their new homes by the Minister of Housing and Lands, Michael Lashley; Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson; and the Parliamentary Representative for Christ Church East, Dr. Denis Lowe.

Minister responsible for International Transport, George Hutson, explained: "The decision to relocate the residents of Fairy Valley to this site here at Leadvale, Christ Church emanated from an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) [study] which was conducted in 1994 as a component of a feasibility study for the GAIA Expansion Project."

He reported that the EIA study recommended the acquisition of properties to the western end of the runway, the relocation of the existing homes in that area, the realignment of the roadway and the inclusion of the area within the airport boundary.

"The relocation of these houses was, therefore, the direct result of the need to establish an obstacle free or Clear Zone to the western end of the runway," Mr. Hutson stated, adding that it was a stipulation of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) that "all runways should have an area called the Runway End Safety Area".

Minister Hutson noted that the project involved the relocation of 17 householders from the area of Thyme Bottom and Parish Land. "Six houses have been built here so far at Leadvale in this first phase of this project. The construction of five additional houses has already started – three here at Leadvale, one at Fairy Valley and one at Pilgrim Place," he disclosed, while sharing the Ministry’s goal of having the homes completed within the next six months.

He, however, lamented that the remaining six households had been affected by a number of legal issues preventing progress in their relocation. He said that these issues were "being worked upon by the legal officers of the Ministry of Housing together with legal representatives of the householders involved."

Minister of Housing and Lands, Michael Lashley acknowledged?? that "housing relocation could be a traumatic experience, particularly "when the reason for moving was not of your choice."

He noted that such relocations are termed "involuntary relocations" and are often "unavoidable when changes to existing infrastructure require additional land space in order to improve the physical, social and environmental conditions across our nation".

One of the Units at Lead Vale, Christ Church

Mr. Lashley congratulated the staff of the National Housing Corporation (NHC) for their excellent work in providing impacted householders with new houses and improved living conditions. With the exception of those who occupied very large houses previous to being relocated, he stated: "the type of replacement unit constructed for individuals is of a larger floor area than what they had before."

Another component of the relocation policy, he added, was to re-site persons in a "relatively close proximity to their former place of residence so that they may continue to have links which were established in their former neighbourhood". He expressed the hope that those relocated would be "able to keep in contact with friends and family on the other side of the ABC Highway".????


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