Public Works Minister GyudeMoore, has set this week for the demolition of private homes and unfinished structures at the Industrial Park in Chicken Soup Factory Community along the Somalia Drive or Gardnerville, outside Monrovia.
Mr. Moore told reporters last week government particularly needs the Industrial Park now for light factories as it begins work on the Mount Coffey Power Plant. He says the demolition exercise will not only affect those at the Industrial Park, but other routes, including the Gabriel Tuckers Bridge-Johnson Street to St. Paul Bridge route, and the ELWA to Marshall routes on which lot of structures have been built over drainage and the right-of-way.
“People spent a lot of money building them, but we have to start somewhere. If we’re going to build our country, we are going to build our capital city – then it can’t look like a slum,” he told reporters at UNMIL headquarters recently.
Mr. Moore says people, who have built in the public right-of-way will have to be removed, though in the instant case he says there will be no compensation because most people knew that they were building in the ally.
As for the entire Chicken Soup Factory Community where the Industrial Park sits, Mr. Moore argued that government obtained the land covering 1,100 acres by eminent domain in the early 1980s.
Currently, he says government does not need the entire place; rather saying they will be clearing the Industrial Park to begin light factories. For those who may have moved into Chicken Soup Factory before 1980, he encouraged them to go for reimbursement to government, and not people who may be claiming to have bought land from other dealers since 1980 when government had already exercise eminent domain.
As for the Somalia Drive route, he set December this year for the commencement of work as a result of an extension from October on grounds that the contractor had to mobilize more equipment from Japan to Africa which is a long distance.
While awaiting the return of the contractor with the equipment, Mr. Moore says government is also doing its part to prepare the site which has seen demolition on one side of the road so far, while the other side is expected to be demolished this week.
During the rainy season, he says government stopped the demolition exercise to avoid having the affected residents struggling for shelter with their children; though he argued that if government let those sentiments influence all the choices it makes, the work will not start.
“At some point, we got to start enforcing our zoning laws; at some point we have to start enforcing our land use planning laws; and it’s unfortunate but this is the time to start and this is what we are going to do,” he said.
Mr. Moore has warned people who are now building to take heed to avoid having their structures damaged soon.
By Winston W. Parley