PRIDE Estates Three was officially opened yesterday, the fifth government subdivision to be opened and completed under the Ingraham administration.
Housing Minister Kenneth Russell said this subdivision is in keeping with the Government's commitment to "reduce the presence of unregulated communities" in the Bahamas.
According to Mr Russell, the Ministry of Housing has already constructed 480 houses and sold 237 serviced lots in this current term, with an additional 180 houses now under construction in New Providence, Grand Bahama and Abaco.
He said: "I am pleased to report that we have not only met our goal to construct 600 homes, but we have surpassed it. We have estimated that $63 million is needed to complete what we have planned and we will continue to move forward ever increasing our numbers until either the money runs out or my position expired."
Mr Russell said the development of the 27-acre Pride Estates Three plot and Fire Trial Gardens will cost around $17.6 million of which $7.9 million has already been spent.
"We have completed in Pride Estates 110 homes and 16 are under construction. We are also in the process of regularizing a number of squatters in this subdivision. We have also provided jobs for 52 contractors and their workers," he said.
"We are pleased that we were able to provide homes for Bahamians while at the same time contributing to the economic advancement of our country. These three-bedroom, two-bath, and two-bedroom, one-bath homes range from $83,000 to $135,000."
In addition to the homes, Mr Russell said the government is also building a children's park, a basketball court, a tennis court and maintaining a public open space with a pond.
The Housing Minister said a similar exercise is under way in Fire Trail Gardens. "A groundbreaking ceremony is being held for 25 houses now under construction on this 35-acre site with 20.9 acres being built on and 14.3 being slated for lots. Additionally efforts are underway for the regularization of 40 to 50 squatters who took up residence on the land."
The official opening of the Pride Estates comes two days after The Tribune learned that 12 homes in six government subdivisions are being occupied without mortgages. According to Tribune sources, the homes are located in Sunset Subdivision, 5; Dignity Gardens, 2; Pride Estates I, 2; Hope Gardens, 1; Jubilee Gardens, 1; and East Coral Estates, 1. The keys to eight of the homes were given out in 2006, two in 2004, and one in 2003 and 2007.
Sandra Storr, acting managing director at the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation (BMC), said both front and back-end mortgage lending guidelines have since been tightened to guard against further mismanagement.