Infrastructure works for Silica City next year – Croal

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
An aerial view of the Silica City site

Plans are underway to next year commence infrastructural works to further develop Silica City, the country’s first smart urban center to be located along the Soesdyke-Linden Highway.

The site earmarked for the first phase of development for Silica City is in the vicinity of Kuru Kururu – where a number of squatters have reportedly already been ordered to move.

In fact, it was reported that the clearing of the city’s first 185 acres of land has already begun.

Housing and Water Minister Collin Croal told this publication on Thursday that the government aims to pursue further infrastructure works next year at the site.

“For example, you see us advertising for a number of areas for infrastructure work next year. Currently…Silica City’s on that. That is…for clearance for infrastructure work for us to commence of the houses…we’re building some houses there too…,” Minister Croal said.

“I can definitively tell you that in the new year we will be commencing construction of houses. Other things are taking place that I don’t want to speak further on at this point,” he added.

Housing and Water Minister Collin Croal

In August, Minister within the Housing Ministry, Susan Rodrigues had visited the site for Silica City, which was first proposed in 2013 by President Dr. Irfaan Ali during his tenure as Minister of Housing and Water.

It was disclosed by Minister Rodrigues that the city will feature an “Innovation Village” which will have 400 young professional homes. The Minister previously stated that the Ministry had already begun shortlisting persons for the homes.

During her visit, the Minister had also disclosed that “we do have some existing leases in the area, which we will, we are in consultations with the Ministry of Agriculture and with the occupants of those leases and we will have some people that have to be relocated but of course we will engage them and ensure that they are properly compensated so we can clear this first phase area for Silica City.”

Meanwhile, the first phase of development of the city is expected to feature a number of commercial and industrial developments, as well as hospitals. While these plans are in motion, land acquisition for phase two is also in progress through collaborative efforts with the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC).

It had previously been explained that the city would initially cater for just over 3000 households in the first five years, and eventually grow to house more than 12,500 households.

In November, South Korean company Yeachon Architect and Urban Planners had presented their seven-year plan for the development of the city. Their presentation was made to President Ali along with other members of the cabinet at the Arthur Chung Convention Center.

The South Korean company made a video presentation outlining how they would develop Silica City. According to their proposals, the city will be carbon-free, complete with housing, energy, transportation, healthcare, education, and recreational facilities.

Mention was also made of smart farms, a hypermarket, and a commercial center. The company proposed that the city could be completed by 2030.

Additionally, other Korean and US companies had made video presentations; on what value they too could provide.

Since its proposal in 2013, Silica City has generated much interest.

It was only in September that another group, Dar Consultants, made their presentation on the city. During the presentation at State House, they explained what the Innovation Village concept within Silica City will accomplish. For one, it will connect start-ups and business incubators to established companies, maximizing their opportunities

According to the group, the Innovation Village will be a geographic area, located within Silica City, where digital and innovative leading-edge anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with start-ups, business incubators, and accelerators.

The establishment of Silica City is in keeping with Guyana’s international commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the New Urban Agenda, and follows the provision of the Housing Act 36:20, and other guidelines.