Preliminary works at the Government’s model Silica City on the Linden-Soesdyke Highway has commenced to pave the way for the construction of the first 100 homes.
Silica City, Guyana’s first smart urban centre, is intended to be a smart city, powered by renewable energy and developed with the Administration’s revised Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and goal 11 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which speaks to building sustainable cities and communities, in mind.
Guyana Times was told that works at the site commenced on January 14, 2023, by one of two contractors, Geraldo Alphonso. Another contractor is expected to start working today.
During a visit to the site by this publication on Sunday, an excavator operator was seen uprooting and removing large trees from the location in the vicinity of Laluni on the Soesdyke-Linden Highway.
Silica City will initially cater for just over 3000 households in the first five years, and eventually grow to house more than 12,500 households when completed.
The first phase of the project will see an initial 400 young professional homes being constructed. It was previously reported that the Housing Ministry had already begun shortlisting persons for these homes.
President Dr Irfaan Ali, during a recent visit to Kuru-Kururu, last week told the residents that soon construction will commence on the first 100 homes within the city and there will be employment opportunities for young people.
“[For those] who want to work in the construction sector, we are building a number of houses in this area… 100 homes we starting [to construct] very soon. They need workers. They need skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled workers,” he posited.
The Head of State had engaged residents from a number of communities and squatter settlements on the highway during which he announced three new regularised housing developments would be established along the major roadway – a move that will improve the lives of residents there.
One of the squatting areas that the President visited was “Circuit Ville”, where some 320 households of about 700 persons are currently residing illegally. During a brief engagement with the occupants there last Wednesday, President Ali pointed out that there has to be a compromise on the way forward. This was after the residents expressed a desire the stay within the area or be relocated somewhere nearby.
In fact, they indicated that they are willing to make necessary adjustments to remain where they currently squat, which could include reducing the land space per household to regularise the area into one of the three developed settlements, but this is based on lands legally available.
The Guyanese leader explained to the residents that due to the development of Silica City along the Linden-Soesdyke Highway, the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC) team will have to examine the plan for the project and ascertain whether the squatting area falls within the boundaries of it.
If that is the case, then an alternative location nearby will be looked at, he informed the residents.
“So, they can discuss with you what [lands you] have here and what are options close by… Let us work together in bringing some planned developments. In that way, you can get all the good facilities – water, electricity, proper roads and the value of these areas to improve tremendously,” he stated.
Furthermore, the Head of State reassured that Government will lend the necessary assistance to farmers who will be affected by this project and will have to relocate, to help them build up new lands to continue farming. He indicated too that a team will soon visit the area to meet with those affected residents after concerns were raised that they were never formally informed of the project.
Silica City is the brainchild of President Ali, who had proposed the establishment of a secondary city in the country while serving as Housing Minister in 2013. So far, there has been tremendous interest from countries and top international companies from around the world in the development of Silica City.