(This article was first published in June 2018)
This is an extract from a tWRF 68 page publication titled: THE PRIDE OF OUR WATERFRONT HERITAGE – THE RENAISSANCE OF URBAN ST. GEORGE, which is due for circulation in May 2019. Because of the current public concern and anxiety which has gone viral due to the extent of the deterioration and the impending danger to public safety it was decided to release this section in advance, for public feedback and to obtain a response from the authorities.
DERELICT BUILDINGS IN AND AROUND ST. GEORGE’S
The Willie Redhead foundation (tWRF) has always expressed its concerns about the derelict buildings in St. George’s and its environs.
The owners or inheritors of these buildings obviously have lost interest in their maintenance and refurbishment, perhaps due to escalating construction and maintenance costs, and in some cases absentee owners who do not intend to return to Grenada.
The buildings have become a source of infestation from mosquitoes, rats, roaches and other disease carrying rodents and insects and also pose a threat to public safety and the incidents of FIRE.
We believe the Government has the authority and power to take control of these buildings that can be used for the purpose of creating a market economy specifically for small local investors, by first publishing the government’s intention in the press and in the Government Gazette by giving 60 days notice or other necessary legal requirements after which the STATE would take the necessary action.
These buildings can and should be cleared of all debris or demolished if a threat to public safety and sold to local investors at a cost equivalent to demolition or clean up of the works with the following suggested conditions:
(1). The commencement of refurbishment/reconstruction must commence within a year and completed within a specific period.
(2). The design must conform to the architecture specific to St. George’s, i.e. clay tiled roof and external brick facing in the Georgian Style.
(3). Government to grant duty free concessions on materials.
(4). The developer/investor must be local or have local interests
(5). A waiver of outstanding property taxes owed on the derelicts.
(6). Restored property is not to be sold before 20 years.
(7). No entrepreneur would be allowed to acquire more than two (2) properties.
We believe bank loans can be based on value of the land as collateral, and not clean up costs. This would certainly encourage local investors and perhaps give the present owners, if any can be identified or determined, a new start.
(The above reflects the views of the Willie Redhead Foundation)