…in CummingslodgeBy Shemuel FanfairAs Government continues its drive to clamp down on squatting, Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan has given the seal of approval to the O&A Property Holdings Limited to construct condominiums in Cummings Lodge, Greater Georgetown.The company will construct the housing units in an area which will be known as “Gafoors Townhouses” scheme.Condominiums or condos are housing units usually styled as apartments or flats, but the units are, however, owned by the buyer. In North American and European models, the condominiums are managed by an association of homeowners.According to a document seen by Guyana Times, the O&A Property Holdings Limited “satisfied” the requirements for a condominium scheme to be constructed at the Lot ‘A’ portion of Block 1 which comprises areas ‘M’ and ‘N’ and a section of area ‘L’ at Plantation Cummings Lodge, Georgetown.Minister Bulkan exercised his powers as guided by Section Five of the Condominium (Regulation and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act of 1989. The subject Minister’s order of approval was made official on October 14.During that same month, squatters occupying State reserves in Sophia, Greater Georgetown, picketed the Communities Ministry in light of moves by the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) to forcibly remove them from their settlements. They demanded that alternative living arrangements be provided for them.Communities Minister Ronald BulkanIn the days that followed the removal and accompanying protests, writers posited the view that many occupants in such living arrangements were making “land grabbing” moves by occupying State reserves since many of them were already owners of land they had not yet occupied or had sold.As the CH&PA continues to sort through its list of applicants, this publication discovered that Minister Bulkan granted approval for the Gafoors Townhouses scheme on September 26.It was on October 12 that the CH&PA dismantled about two dozen structures on the Government reserves in Sophia, but the process was halted after much opposition and repeated pleas of the resident families who said they were not given official notice of the removal exercise.Representatives of the Housing Authority stated that squatting was impeding progress in the community of Sophia and as such, a task force was set up to address the issue.On October 23, the Housing Authority announced that some 266 notices were given to the reserve squatters that they must remove their structures by January 30, 2018.Many problems have surrounded the relocations of squatters. During last month, residents of Mocha Arcadia vented their frustrations against Government’s plans to relocate more than 40 families from Broad Street, Georgetown to Barnwell, Mocha, East Bank Demerara (EBD).Government has long said that there was not enough space to fulfil the demand for housing and has moved to establish townhouses, duplexes, condominiums along with single units. At the “Housing Solutions 2017 and Beyond” expo at Perseverance, EBD, Guyanese were introduced to 25 such housing units, which were constructed for the four-day exhibition.
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