The National Infrastructure Development Co Ltd (Nidco) yesterday disclosed that more than 100 homeowners occupying land in the path of the proposed Solomon Hochoy Highway extension to Point Fortin have already agreed to compensation and relocation.
Nidco stated that residents who lived within the “optimised right of way” of the highway would be relocated to other sites.
And homeowners living on private lands were assured that they would receive fair market value for their structures and the land. Nidco stated that the residents would be compensated for disturbance, and related professional fees including surveyors and valuators.
Depending on the urgency, home owners will be offered an incentive to relocate within one month, Nidco stated.
Nidco’s statement has come in response to Monday’s protest by some residents living along the proposed path of the highway who are demanding fair and just compensation for their land and homes.
Nidco stated that each household will be entitled to purchase a plot of land at Petit Morne at a subsidised price of $50,000. Families living on State land would be relocated to Cedar Hill, where they would also be allowed to purchase land. Farmers would be relocated to lands approved for farming at Golconda.
Nidco stated that most of the major infrastructure was in place at Petit Morne. The sites are being developed by the Ministry of Housing.
Nidco said care was being taken that the final settlement for each parcel of land acquired is fair and the process is transparent. “All claimants are entitled to choose their own professional valuers to negotiate on their behalf with Nidco in order to arrive at an agreed settlement, based on prevailing market values.” Nidco stated.
The time taken to conclude the negotiations is unique to each property. “Nidco is however committed to making payments to property owners as soon as the settlement price is agreed. Payment is made in two instalments: a first payment of approximately 80 per cent, after which the claimant is required to vacate the property within three months. The remaining 20 per cent is paid upon conveyance of the property,” the State agency noted.
Nidco stated that Government has decided to acquire properties that are on the Right-of-Way (ROW) of the Highway, under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act. In addition, Nidco has been authorised to procure properties by Private Treaty, wherever possible.
“Nidco is committed to minimising the impacts of the highway on the communities, residents and businesses. In order to reduce the number of properties required for construction and to optimise the overall design, the ROW was reduced as much as possible, from the original 100 (metres) in some areas. This reduced area is referred to as the “optimised ROW.” The optimised design will in no way affect the size nor quality standards of the Highway,” Nidco stated.
All properties that lie within the optimised ROW will be acquired. Some properties outside the optimised ROW but within the original ROW, with special conditions, will also be purchased, Nidco explained.
“These conditions include:
(i) properties that will be land locked as a result of the highway;
(ii) properties affected by the inclusion of frontage roads designed for establishing access to property; and
(iii) properties that the contractor would have entered under Section 4 Notice. Owners of properties that are no longer to be acquired are entitled to submit claims for compensation for any professional fees incurred in relation to the acquisition process,” Nidco stated.