The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Investment, Planning, Resilience, Sustainable Development, Telecommunications and Broadcasting along with the Ministry Of Housing and Urban Development joined forces to provide support for housing recovery systems and capacity building with the implementation of TACS at the local level.

This as, several young people across the island signed employment contracts with the implementation of Technical Assistance Centers (TACS) through the World Bank Housing Recovery Project.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Investment, Planning, Resilience, Sustainable Development, Telecommunications And Broadcasting Mrs. Gloria Joseph says the purpose of the TACS are to guide and encourage resilient practices in construction and to strengthen planning control capacity at a local level.

“The objective of the Technical Assistance Centres will support the public and the Housing Recovery Programme beneficiaries, accordingly regional satellite offices have been established. These satellite offices will provide technical assistance permitting process, inspection services in terms of building inspection and public education among other duties. The plan will cover the establishment of upper offices and operation in four regional locations,” Mrs. Joseph stated.

These centers will be open in four regional areas across the island namely, the Kalinago Territory, Portsmouth, Mahaut and Bellevue Chopin.

Permanent Secretary Joseph thanked the World Bank and the Ministry of Housing for their roles in ensuring the realization of this project.

“All of these centers are ready and waiting and waiting to swing the doors open to provide service to the public and in this regard I would really to thank the World Bank for their contribution in making this dream a reality and to also thank in a special way the Ministry of Housing which has been a key partner on this agenda,” the PS noted.

Each TAC team will include three junior officers, an administrative officer and will be overseen by a development control officer.

“Physical planning will be in the communities, in the districts, through the Junior Development Control Officers who are adequately trained by the development control officers and the Chief Physical Planner to ensure that we are not there just to police but we are there to educate people on resilient development abiding by the codes and the standards for construction that have been established. So you have three junior development control officers in each TAC. Then you also have in each TAC an office assistant who will provide the administrative functions and duties of the office and they will be complimented and receive overall supervision from the development control officers,” PS Joseph explained.

Following the passage of Hurricane Maria in 2017, Dominica lost over fifty percent of its housing infrastructure leaving hundreds homeless or in unfortunate living conditions. In 2018, the World Bank gave Dominica a grant of US $30 million for a housing recovery project to contribute both to the recovery of housing for households affected by Hurricane Maria and to improve the application of resilient building practices in the housing sector.

Chief Physical Planner Dr. Genora Joseph welcomed the new officers to the Physical Planning Division as it seeks to ensure the orderly development of Dominica.

“You all would have remembered the carnage and devastation that was caused by Hurricane Maria and the housing stock took a particularly significant blow from that hurricane.  We are well on our way to recovery, but in order for us to build better and to build stronger we need to enable our Physical Planning Division to be able to implement those policies that allow us to build stronger and better,” Dr. Joseph stated.    

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development Reginald Severin says through this project, Government hopes to achieve complete resilience of the island’s housing stock by the year 2030.

“Through this project what we want to do is to ensure that there is full compliance across the board as it relates to building resilient homes. Part of our target under sustainable development targets and also through CREAD is to ensure that we reach almost thirty percent of our housing stock as resilient homes in Dominica to the extent that by 2030 we want to be fully compliant in terms of having a fully resilient stock of housing in Dominica, so that in the event where we have these devastating storms or extraordinary catastrophic event in Dominica, we can rest assured that we are secured, we are safe and that our homes will be there for generations to come,” Mr. Severin stated.

Permanent Secretary Severin went on to extend his hopes for the continuity of this initiative past the projects expiration in 2023.

“I’m grateful as the Ministry of Housing to be the custodian of the means through which we are able to have the additional staff placed. But I would like to place on record that through this initiative we hope that once the project which comes to an end in 20223, we would have set the basis for there to be continuity beyond the project of that initiative,” PS Severin added.