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"Choc Gardens" will be largest housing project

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Contact: Ina Joseph

Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - In the Budget Address of 2003/2004, Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Kenny D. Anthony pointed out that since his budget presentation two years ago, a range of proposals to spur investment in the housing sector are now in various stages of implementation.

The Prime Minister made it clear that the time is right to give a further boost to the housing sector as there is an acute shortage of housing stock in the north, from Gros Islet to Castries, especially given that current mortgage rates are at their lowest ever, ranging from 7.99 per cent to 12 per cent.

Moreover, he added that there must be a continuation to do everything possible to reduce unemployment, by boosting activity in the construction sector, thus helping to provide additional stimulation to the economy through investment in housing.

“The problem which faces the Government is the unavailability of Government-owned lands in the north. In actual fact, the Government of Saint Lucia owns just about 27 per cent of Saint Lucia’s total land acreage, exclusive of our forest reserve. It is always a challenge to identify lands in the northern corridor. Usually, Government has to purchase or acquire land from private individuals for housing development,” said Hon Dr. Kenny Anthony.

To this end, the Cabinet has agreed to purchase eighty-nine acres of land from Choc Estates Ltd., to develop a new housing estate to be named “Choc Gardens.” It is estimated that approximately 493 homes can be constructed on lot sizes between 5,000 and 6,000 sq. ft. Of the 89 acres, Cabinet has agreed that fourteen acres will be reserved for Public Officers, hopefully to be developed jointly by them and financed by their Credit Unions, or on their behalf, by the National Housing Corporation. This housing development, according to Dr. Anthony, will be the single largest housing development ever undertaken in Saint Lucia.

In addition to the Choc Gardens development, the National Housing Corporation will also be embarking on a new housing project in Black Bay, Vieux Fort. Approximately twenty two acres of land, sub-divided into 126 lots will be developed for sale. In the course of this year, Saint Lucians should witness considerable activity in the housing sector as government has already welcomed the decision of CLICO Holdings Ltd, a regional insurance company, to invest $31 million in a middle income housing development at La Caye, Dennery.

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