By Caribbean News Now contributor
ROSEAU, Dominica — Following tropical storm Erika in 2015, a catastrophic event that left over 1,000 households homeless, the first batch of 125 residential units out of a total of 340 units being constructed at Belleview Chopin and financed entirely by Dominica’s citizenship by investment program to house 100 families displaced by Erika has been handed over to the government and will be ready for occupancy at an official ceremony in February after utilities connection.
Erika was the deadliest natural disaster that Dominica had experienced since Hurricane David in 1979. It brought torrential rain that triggered massive flooding and landslides. The river and streams surged with boulders and debris. It wiped out and destroyed homes, villages, bridges and roads and resulted in the tragic death of at least 20 Dominicans, and directly impacted about 16,000 people or approximately 23 percent of Dominica’s population.
The government of Dominica was then faced with the task of rebuilding the destroyed homes as part of its vision to revolutionize the housing condition in the island.
In September 2016, the government contracted Montreal Management Consultants Est (MMCE) and launched the Bellevue Chopin Housing Programme to benefit Petite Savanne residents displaced by Erika.
The Bellevue Chopin project consists of 340 residential units and a 28-unit commercial complex. The commercial complex will be used as a daycare and early childhood education centre, sports and recreation, shops and boutiques.
From then on, MMCE has been working closely with the government with a shared vision of developing and building integrated communities, something that became even more critical following Hurricane Maria on September 18, 2017, which passed directly over Dominica as a Category 5 storm, causing widespread, catastrophic damage across the island.
Hurricane Maria destroyed nearly 23,500 houses in Dominica, representing approximately 90 percent of houses countrywide. More than 30 people were confirmed dead.
As part of its Housing Revolution – Dominica, the government’s principal response to the catastrophic events, the Roosevelt Skerrit administration launched new housing projects in September 2018, for building hurricane-resilient houses in cooperation with MMCE, once again entirely financed by the country’s citizenship by investment program.
With the full support of the government of Dominica, MMCE aims to offer equal housing opportunities to every resident of Dominica. In line with this, MMCE started developing five new housing projects at different strategic locations on the East Coast of Dominica.
These housing projects will benefit the communities of (1) Castle Bruce, (2) La Plaine, (3) Delices, (4) Grand Fond and (5) San Sauveur.
There will be two buildings for each location, and each building has nine one-bedroom units, 20 two-bedroom units, and four three-bedroom units, with a total of 330 apartment units.
The East Coast Housing Project has these outstanding features:
1. Modern and climate resilient structures designed to withstand hurricanes and seismic shocks.
2. Reinforced concrete and decorative roof structures that ensure water tightness and stability
3. All windows are made of impact resistant glass
4. Solar water heating structures
I. East Coast Housing Project
1. CASTLE BRUCE
2. LA PLAINE
4. GRAND FOND
5. SAN SAUVEUR
The East Coast Housing projects will be completed in 2019
II. West Coast Housing Program
Guided by the Build Back Better (BBB) concept, MMCE is developing resilient housing infrastructures for Dominica.
The West Coast Housing Project is located at Portsmouth; the second largest town in Dominica. It is divided into two separate projects, namely Phoenix City and Cotton Hill.
MMCE expects to help over 300 families upon completion of these projects in 2019.
Georgetown will transform Portsmouth in August 2019. It is a multifaceted housing project with notable key infrastructures such as a new fire and police station, basketball and tennis courts, and other indoor sporting amenities.
Furthermore, vital government offices such as Immigration and Traffic departments, Inland Revenue Division, the Sub-treasury and Registry departments as well as the Education and Sports divisions will be situated in Georgetown.
The Georgetown project has two phases:
• Phase 1 includes 24 two-bedroom residential units and 44 three-bedroom residential units
• Phase 2 includes 158 commercial and government units.
The main structure will be built through modern architectural concepts and industry-best engineering practices, ensuring quality and granting Dominican people much-deserved peace of mind.
2. COTTON HILL
MMCE is determined to build a hurricane resilient community for Dominican people to live their blissful life with peace of mind.
The Cotton Hill has 24 two-bedroom units and 44 three-bedroom units, built with modern and pristine design that complements the environment of Portsmouth.
The Cotton Hill apartments will be constructed fully with reinforced concrete, impact resistant windows and solar water heating features.
It will shelter 68 families upon its completion on November 2019.
III. Roseau City
In its commitment to rebuild the overall well-being of Dominica, MMCE in collaboration with the government, will build a fully integrated community that offers comfort and convenience with sustainable infrastructure housing projects.
Roseau City Square is a diverse housing project which consists of four state of the art low-rise buildings. Each building consists of the following:
• Block A – Four three-bedroom units, 20 two-bedroom units and 16 commercial units.
• Block B – Four three-bedroom units, 19 two-bedroom units and 19 commercial units.
• Block C – Four three-bedroom units, 26 two-bedroom units.
• Block D – Four three-bedroom units, 19 two-bedroom units and 19 commercial units.
These buildings have been aesthetically designed to blend seamlessly with the surroundings of Roseau and, more importantly, withstand hurricane and seismic shocks.
MMCE aims to complement the active lifestyle of Dominican people with ease of access to retail outlets, along with idyllic residential units.
Roseau City Square is expected to be completed in November 2019.
An additional project named Roseau Riverwalk will also be developed in 2019.
Today, the housing programme has evolved the quality of houses being built. The new resettlement houses have been designed and are being constructed to withstand natural disasters. The government is continuously building fully integrated housing communities to cater to the needs of Dominican residents.
All housing projects are fully financed by the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CBIU) of Dominica through the economic citizenship programme. This series of housing projects is reportedly the most extensive project ever funded by the CBIU.