Informal Settlements Upgraded

Oct. 3, 2017, 6:01 a.m.

Informal Settlements Upgraded

More informal settlements are being upgraded with development works and proper residential leases, the latest being Waidamudamu in Koronivia, Nausori.

The settlement is being provided with residential lots as part of an upgrading program by the Ministry of Local Government and Housing.

“The Waidamudamu Informal Settlement Project will provide a total of 266 residential lots and on completion, 266 eligible tenants or 1330 people will have access to fully serviced housing lots for 99-year residential leases,” confirmed Parveen Kumar, Minister for Local Government and Housing.

“We’ve basically been discussing this upgrade for the last couple of years and it’s a milestone in our efforts to provide affordable and decent housing to all Fijians.”

Waidamudamu residents had sought State assistance to improve road conditions and provide clean water supply. They were officially given the green light for a full upgrading program on June 24, with a ground-breaking ceremony officiated by Kumar, a former Special Administrator for Ba, Lautoka, Nadi, Tavua and Sigatoka.

“This ceremony is the housing program to be launched by the Government though my Ministry. This demonstrates the genuine care and commitment shown by the Government in ensuring affordable and decent housing communities, in line with the Bill of Rights to housing and sanitation enshrined in our Constitution and National Development Framework of Developing a Better Fiji for all Fijians,” Kumar added.

“This ground-breaking of Waidamudamu signifies the interest shown towards this project, in making things happen.”

The commencement of the civil construction will cost Government around $5 million, with Kumar noting that the design of the settlement upgrade had taken into account what residents wanted, following a series of meetings between the community and the Local Government and Housing Ministry.

To address the backlog of informal settlements around the country, Kumar said his Ministry had undertaken several commitments.

These include the completion of civil construction works for three informal settlements at Cuvu in Sigatoka, Nadi and Omkar in Nasinu, Suva, with a total of 397 residential lots.

Civil constructions are also continuing at Caubati Central, with a total of 247 residential lots in Nasinu, while a consultancy service agreement will be signed for a further 343 lots at Tauvegavega in Ba.  Additionally, there will be tenders invited for civil construction work at Sasawira, Suva, for 151 lots.

“These housing projects will reduce the informal housing project upgrade backlog and to support those in informal settlements, the Government will provide fully serviced housing lots and of course, the required financials to kick-start and assist with the construction of residential homes,” Kumar added.

The Government’s First Home Owners Grant- which provides $5000 to first-time home buyers whose annual income is under $50,000 per annum and $10,000 for first time home owners intending to construct.

“Since the inception of the housing assistance grant for first-time home owners in 2014, the Ministry has assisted a total of 1,200 families who became proud, first-time home owners.

“A total grant of around $7 million has been expended- $2 million for purchasing readily-built homes and $5 million for the purchase of land and construction.”

Kumar has encouraged native landowning units wanting to utilize idle land to contact his Ministry.

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