ACTING Housing Minister of Housing and Urban Development Camille Robinson-Regis has defended the proposed North Grove housing community in Curepe saying it will redound to the benefit of all stakeholders.
In a release, Robinson-Regis said she has noted the many inaccurate and sensational statements which have appeared in the media over the last few days regarding the project and she wanted to place information in the public domain.
She pointed out firstly that the site is a seven hectare parcel of land bordering the Southern Main Road, Curepe, north of the existing East Grove Housing Development Corporation (HDC) housing community and is within the densely populated Curepe area.
She said the North Grove site is part of a 167-acre site that is part residential, part office building and part agriculture nurseries.
Occupants include various sections of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries and Works and Transport.
She reported that further north and west of the site, there are additional State lands, some families have lived on that larger parcel for decades and there are no private farmers in that area.
She stressed the proposed North Grove project does not interfere with the St Augustine Nurseries and that the plant propagation station will continue to provide ornamental and non-ornamental plants to farmers and others.
She reported over the years, the productivity of this station has declined, partly due to the re-opening of Marper Farm in Plum Mitan and upgrades at La Pastora in Santa Cruz and this has left close to 100 acres largely underutilised on the 167-acre site.
Robinson-Regis said with the North Grove housing community coming on stream, there are more than 50 acres available on the Curepe site for agriculture use, should the need arise.
She also pointed out: there are a few citrus trees on the site but these are afflicted with the citrus greening disease—a disease caused by a vector-transmitted pathogen—and as this is believed to be the source of the disease foreign experts have recommended the removal of the trees; there will be no job loss as private farmers occupy the land but thousands of jobs will be created; voting patterns are not considered in conceptualising new housing communities; and stakeholder consultations are part of the lawful process and over the past three months there have been three consultations for the proposed North Grove housing community in furtherance of the grant of a certificate of environmental clearance. Robinson-Regis said the HDC has been advised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries that bona fide farmers and potential farmers can still apply for land in Orange Grove and surrounding areas.
“The statements attributed to the Opposition members of Parliament are mischievous and are aimed at obstructing the Government’s development programme so that they (the Opposition) can continue to claim that ‘nothing is happening.’”
The Opposition and Agricultural Society had claimed Government planned to build houses on the nurseries.