Representatives of the National Housing Development Trust (NHDT), Ministry of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure and other stakeholders broke ground last week (Friday, November 24) for phase three of the Lighthouse Gardens affordable housing development in West Bay.
The subdivision design for phase three of the Lighthouse Gardens development consists of nineteen affordable housing lots. The phase will complete the 9.5 acre property with a total of fifty-five affordable homes at the location.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, Minister for Infrastructure, Hon. Jay Ebanks said, “the commitment of the NHDT and the Government is to deliver high quality and sustainable housing for many Caymanians to realise their dream and pride of home ownership for many years to come”.
Minister Ebanks also noted that while the NHDT Board continues to concentrate its efforts building on vacant land at the housing sites in North Side, East End and West Bay, it has also been tasked to replicate these efforts in George Town by acquiring land for new developments. “There is a great demand for affordable housing across our Island and it is the intention of this Government to develop new housing solutions during our time in office,” he stated.
In his remarks, Deputy Premier and Minister for Finance and Economic Development Hon. Chris Saunders commended the Board of the National Housing Development Trust and noted the importance of the Trust’s mandate.
He said, “The cost of housing is one of the largest contributors to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and it’s important that we have adequate housing and accommodation for Caymanians. While global population growth is averaging less than 1% per year, in the Cayman Islands we have seen 10.5% growth in an eight month period. The rate of home construction has not kept pace with population growth. It is therefore imperative that we have a national conversation on housing, land preservation, and building heights both in the residential and commercial sectors”.
Member of Parliament for West Bay West, McKeeva Bush said that the need for affordable housing has grown but the Ministry of PAHI and the Government have good plans to get things done. He further noted, “I am very pleased that we have a Minister in charge who is very determined and a man of action who will bring these plans to fruition”.
NHDT General Manager Julio Ramos stated that the Trust is working to keep construction costs low at the development while at the same time making the houses modern, energy efficient and equipping them with amenities that increase the house values on these properties. “The NHDT continues to offer these houses at a low cost, with reported market values equivalent to those provided in the open market,” he said.
The National Housing Development Trust recently completed work on the East End and Bodden Town housing development sites and is now in the process of assigning the houses to successful applicants.
Work is also progressing well at the 12-acre North Side housing development site, where the NHDT broke ground for forty-five housing lots last December.