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Bhoe: Make allowances for multi-family homes

By Julien Neaves

THE PLANNING Ministry will be taking to Cabinet a recommendation to allow people who have established homes in certain areas of the country to have multi-family dwellings, announced Planning Minister Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie.

"They can expand their units easily with simple approvals on the same plot of land," he said.

He was speaking on Wednesday night during Senate debate on the Finance Bill 2013 at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain.

He noted this will have a significant effect on a number of areas including construction, the more effective and efficient utilisation of land, opportunities for extended family living, and also the opportunity for people to be entrepreneurial and build units to rent.

He said the process will begin in urban areas.

"And we are going to make it easy for people," he added.

He noted that there was an issue of a "callous culture" with how we deal with citizens and he has talked about with the people in the Town and Country Planning Division on the issue.

"I've said to them (that) we behave as though the people who've come to us are not our citizens and that they do not have the right to use the land that they own to suggest to you how they might build a building in which they might live," he said.

Tewarie noted that this culture has evolved over a number of years and you cannot blame the ministers, the Government or the public servants.

"And the only way you change that culture is that you have to create new structures in order to change the behaviours from what they were into what you now require them to be in terms of service to the citizens, service to the population, service to the people," he said.

He earlier noted that the Town and Country Planning Division has been facilitating several private investors on construction projects, including a seven-storey building on Frederick Street near City Hall, Knox Street, Port of Spain.

"A year ago or two years ago they would never have approved a seven-storey building in Port of Spain and Frederick Street. I don't know for what reason but that is how it used to happen," he said.

He noted that several buildings going up during this year show that the incentives announced by Finance Minister Larry Howai have been having an effect and it was important for the Town and Country Planning Division to facilitate this process.

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