News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – The Premier of Bermuda David Burt and the Acting Minister of Public Works, Diallo Rabain attended a site visit and was given a tour of the Harmony Hall campus this morning by the General Manager of the Bermuda Housing Corporation, Mr Paul Martin.
Premier Burt gave the following remarks before the tour began: “In our 2020 election platform, the Government recognised that the cost of housing continues to remain a challenge in Bermuda. We pledged that we would work to continue to increase the stock of available, affordable housing throughout the country and make it easier for Bermudians to get on to the property ladder.
“This Government is working with the Bermuda Housing Corporation to fulfill this pledge to the people of Bermuda. The Bermuda Housing Corporation currently has a number of housing initiatives underway, and I am happy to be here today to see the progress being made at Harmony Hall in Paget.
“In addition to the work being done here, upgrades have recently been completed at the former Police Barracks providing 10 studio apartments in the Eastern end of the island, two more units recently completed in the West end, and multiple projects ongoing to increase housing inventory.
“The media will recall that the Government has also made an additional $1.6 Million in funding available to the Bermuda Housing Corporation to provide 17 additional affordable housing units.
“In the coming weeks, I will be visiting more of the projects which are currently underway, such as Rock Oven Lane, Ripon Cottage, and Old Military Road.
“The Government is committed to continuing to increase the availability of affordable housing, and this is one of the projects that will achieve that.
“I thank the Acting Minister of Public Works for joining me today and for the commitment within this ministry to see these projects through. Thank you to the Bermuda Housing Corporation, to the Chair, MP Vance Campbell, General Manager Paul Martin, and to the entire board and staff of the Bermuda Housing Corporation for their continued hard work in overseeing these important projects. And thank you to the construction teams on site across the island for continuing this work which is of vital importance to the families of Bermuda.”
Following the Premier’s remarks, the Acting Minister of Public Works, Minister Rabain said: “The Ministry’s Short Term Economic Stimulus Programme was launched in December 2020. This Economic Stimulus initiative is designed to provide employment and building opportunities for small to medium-sized contractors.
“This project was selected to maximise private sector employment while providing much-needed refreshing of neglected infrastructure as part of the Government’s Economic Stimulus Plan.
“Harmony Hall is comprised of four residential buildings- A, B, C, and D, on the western side of the property, as well as the main building and the Gate House.
Currently, blocks A and C are occupied by tenants, Block B is under construction, and Block D will require renovation before it can be occupied.
“Gate House is currently being used for emergency housing while suitable accommodations can be found for the clients.
“The plan for the main building is still being finalised in conjunction with the master plan for the entire campus.
“Funding for the total works at the Harmony Hall site is being split between the economic stimulus package and the Bermuda Housing Corporation Grant.
“I want to reinforce that these projects are mostly infrastructure improvements and have not added any further burden to the Government operational expenses.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank the cross-departmental team within this Ministry of Public Works for their efforts to revive this historic campus. The successful completion of the critical infrastructure upgrades to Harmony Hall will mean that we will have more housing options for senior members of our community who live independently and a contingency for those persons who have encountered hardship and need a stopgap to get back on their feet.
“The Ministry’s Economic Stimulus Programme was launched to meet the urgent need of providing stimulus to our economy in order to retain and boost employment numbers in the wake of the economic downturn sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Overall, we are very pleased with the progress achieved by the Stimulus Programme thus far and look forward to further updates on the completion of the various projects in the months to come.”
Top Feature Photo: Premier David Burt and Paul Martin