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Govt pumps $500m into Sando redevelopment

The trinidad Guardian / Fifty families and several government and commercial operations will soon be relocated as Government moves to start the San Fernando Waterfront Redevelopment Project later this year.

Earlier this year, Cabinet approved Phase 1 of the project, which includes dredging and reclamation of 3.8 hectares of land, development of a harbour at King’s Wharf, relocation of squatters along the Old Train Line, relocation of the Public Transport Service Corporation’s (PTSC) maintenance facility and the upgrade of Plaza San Carlos, where the PTSC hub is located.

San Fernando East MP Faris Al-Rawi and Housing and Urban Development Minister Randall Mitchell toured the marked areas for development to assess the work to be done yesterday and revealed Government had sourced $500 million to start the project.

Al-Rawi said: “The Cabinet has already earmarked financing which the Minister of Finance has put into place for certain starts. We’re also looking for some loans and developmental facilities as well.”

He said social surveys and positioning have been completed and tenders will be advertised soon.

Besides PTSC, the Customs and Excise Division, Immigration Division and fishing facilities will be relocated.

Mitchell said social surveys were already carried out on the occupants of 50 structures. As work moves ahead, he said those families will be relocated to a nearby area until a permanent arrangement can be found.

According to a Cabinet note, the Land Settlement Agency (LSA) estimates there are 144 squatters to be relocated. Areas considered for relocation include San Fernando, Corinth, Pranz Gardens, Claxton Bay and sites under the Estate Management and Business Development Company. An estimated $26 million has been provided to the LSA for the construction of 200 residential lots for the relocation. There was also a recommendation for the PTSC maintenance operation to be relocated to Tarouba.

The San Fernando City Corporation was charged with the redevelopment of the historic Plaza San Carlos buildings and there is already a proposal to house a museum there. Work was expected to start in 2015 after numerous public consultations, but it never did.

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