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St Louis gets new housing estate

A newly built housing estate at St Louis was officially opened on Saturday.

It was President Danny Faure and the Minister for Habitat, Infrastructure and Land Transport (MHILT) Pamela Charlette who officially inaugurated the Oliver Housing Estate.

Also present were the MNA for St Louis Sandy Arrisol, principal secretary for infrastructure Yves Choppy, principal secretary for housing Denis Barbe, principal secretary for local government Marine-Celine Vidot, district administrator for St Louis Rachel Joseph among other invited guests as well as the new  tenants.

The estate forms part of the government's initiative to provide 24 houses in 25 districts in 24 months, which was announced in 2016 and which was to be completed by February 2019.

Since construction on the Oliver Housing Estate recently completed this month, St Louis joins the few other districts which have met the scheduled completion deadline.

It is also the first housing project to have been allocated using the land points system.

The estate comprises five block of 36 units of which 12 are three-bedroom units and 24 are two-bedroom units.

It has been named after the previous owner of the land, Therese Oliver, who transferred the land to the government in 2005 following lengthy discussions.

But it was only in November 2015 that Allied Builders were awarded the contract for the housing project which the construction company was initially expected to complete by March 2018.

During her keynote address, Minister Charlette stated that the Oliver Housing Estate is one of the greatest accomplishments under the 24 houses in 25 districts in 24 months initiative.

She noted that there are 200 housing applicants in St Louis of which 128 are actively contributing to their future homes while 81 applicants are not.

Minister Charlette also gave an overview of the application process which she described as lengthy, intense and emotional.

“It is the first project that allocation was made using the land point system which proritises applicants according to their needs and merit,” Minister Charlette explained.

“Various meetings with applicants were organised and visits were conducted when necessary with the district committee to assess the housing situation of these applicants.”

In this same allocation, her ministry also took the opportunity to address the needs of a few large families who had been residing in bedsitters for more than 12 years.

“This is an opportunity for these families to better cater for their children and create a better environment that will help them flourish [...],” Minister Charlette provided.

A house that caters to the needs of a family, Minister Charlette continued, encourages children to perform better at school and parents to become more productive at work hence contributing to the country’s progress.

Nonetheless, Minister Charlette strongly emphasised on the need for the tenants to be responsible and to honour their agreements with the Property Management Company (PMC).

She asked that the tenants transform their new houses into homes where peace, respect and harmony prevail and become an exemplary community in their district.

Tenants were also requested to ensure their housing payments are made on time.

“I want to highlight that the ministry, through its housing policy of 2018, will not tolerate anti-social activities on this estate,” Minister Charlette stressed.

“This agreement signed with PMC is one which is valid and this agency has the right to undertake any necessary measures with residents who break this agreement, hence I implore you all to avoid actions that could cost you your homes.”

One of the new tenants, Marlene Saunders, also echoed out the same sentiments stating that a house is an investment and that the residents of Oliver Housing Estate should persevere to live in harmony and be exemplary neighbours.

The estate was blessed by Anglican Priest, Reverend Daniel Kalle, after which President Faure and other officials were led on a tour of some of the new homes.

The opening ceremony also included entertainments such as performances by the Belonie School choir, MHILT choir and a visit from Father Christmas for the children of the estate.

St Louis expects to benefit from another stock of government housing in the coming years.

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