BWU houses on the market


The three controversial model houses that were supposed to kickstart the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) low-income housing project at Mangrove, St Philip, are finally being sold.

Thirteen years after the houses were first constructed, they have been put on the real estate market for sale at $185 000, $150 000 and $285 000.

They were supposed to be part of 240 low-income houses to be built by the BWU on 30 acres of land at Mangrove. However, after the three model houses were completed the BWU parted ways with the construction company Norstar Development of Vancouver, Canada, saying that the sale price given of more than $300 000 was not what it had anticipated for low-cost housing.

The union subsequently brought a court case against the builders.

Toni Moore, general secretary of the BWU, told the Sunday Sun the matter was not fully settled.

“The land belongs to us and the houses belong to the contractor; so it is a bit technical,” she said, adding that the union was seeking to recover the cost of the land.

The three model homes are made of a softwood – the Canadian Douglas fir – and concrete board and are said to be hurricane-resistant.

The three-bedroon, two-bathroom house which is being sold at $285 000 is said to be 95 per cent completed.

In relation to a second housing project, which also failed after the union hired contractors Beautiful Environmental Homes, Moore said that issue had been resolved.

The union also terminated the contract with that builder following complaints from prospective homeowners.

Moore said that the BWU had sold 28 of the 30 lots so far at $20 a square foot to individuals, but this time around, the latter would hire their own contractors to build the homes.

In 1974 the BWU successfully built 150 lower- and middle-income houses near the Labour College at Mangrove. (MB)



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