'They will not be moved' - Mona Commons residents welcome plan to develop community
Already residents of the squatter community known as Mona Commons in St Andrew are anticipating the redevelopment of the area which they expect to transform their lives.
"The residents welcome it with open arms. They want the zinc fences to come down, but most of all they are glad that they will not be relocated," said Yvonne Stewart-Hibbert, a member of the community's steering committee for the redevelopment.
"As far as I know, 23 houses that are impinging on roads will be relocated and others will lose some of the yard area because there is need for roads and proper sewerage development. As we speak, a stop order has been placed on the community for the cessation of all housing developments," added Stewart-Hibbert.
She said it is anticipated that the 23 families to be displaced will be relocated elsewhere in the community.
"The architect's plans don't show where they will be relocated to, but there are empty spaces within the community," said Stewart-Hibbert.
For Yvonne Turner, principal of the basic school which operates in Mona Commons, while the development proposal is welcome, she wants work to begin quickly, as the construction stop order now in place is affecting plans for the expansion of the school.
"We need two additional bathrooms for the boys as the urinal is out of use. But the university said I would be wasting my time if I spend the money," said Turner.
"(Under the redevelopment plan) the basic school is to get more space for the children to play. It is the first thing to be redeveloped but there is no definitive start date. They are hoping for approval so that the reconstruction can start when school is out.