-As part of process to upgrade township
The National Housing Authority (NHA), in collaboration with the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) on Monday, April 23, began a three-day survey of the Township of West Point as part of the entity’s effort to upgrade the community into a modern city, and put in place an ocean defense system that will protect the township from erosion.
At a meeting with West Point Township officials, including the commissioner, William T. Dennis and community leadership, NHA’s representatives re-emphasized the decision by President George Weah to, among other things, upgrade the township with improved living conditions.
The survey will include information about the number of residents; any resident with any piece of a document on land should submit a copy to the office of the Commissioner.
Commissioner Dennis expressed appreciation to President Weah for his decision to provide better living conditions for West Pointers, and possibly change the community’s designation from a slum.
He said since the exercise was discussed in the community, many people want to know whether it is not a clever attempt by the government to evict them from their homes.
West Point officials admit that a little more than 99 acres of land belong to the Liberian government, but that the people have resided on it for more than 40 years.
Other groups participating in the exercise are the Liberia Land Authority (LLA), the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy and the Ministry of Public Works.
Dennis meanwhile recommended to the NHA authorities that community leaders should be allowed the opportunity to get involved in discussions about the future of West Point that are held on the radio, so that they can adequately explain the nature of the exercise to those directly affected.
The NHA representatives informed him that his recommendation meant the township’s preparedness to work along with the NHA and President Weah to develop better residences for the people.
The survey will document how much land belongs to the government, the number of schools, market centers and religious areas.
According to the NHA, it is the wish of President Weah to build a more affordable community that would transform West Point from a slum to another level, where the community will have access to modern living standards.
“President Weah wants a better improvement for the people of West Point and so he mandated the NHA and other related agencies to work together to upgrade the community,” Duannah Siryon, NHA Managing Director said.
While the survey and its upgrading are one part of the development initiative for West Point, the NHA said it recently completed a concept note to negotiate with a funder for the enhancement of the township.
The NHA Managing Director said the government is seeking at least US$10 million from the funder, which is a pan-African finance institution created to exclusively support the development of the African real estate and housing sector. Through its strategic partnerships, it offers products and related services, which support the efficient delivery of commercial real estate and affordable housing.
“The money is intended to develop about 2,000 units of affordable houses in West Point that will be exclusively given to low-income Liberians who are part of the Liberian government’s pro-poor governance agenda,” the NHA said in a statement.
Other details on temporary residence during the upgrading exercise are currently being considered by the NHA but urges West Pointers not to panic during the exercise, the release concluded.