Chairman of local construction fraternity, Joint Consultative Committee on the Construction Sector (JCCCS), Anthony Leblanc, has expressed the organization’s delight at the inclusion of local contractors in the initial stages of the resettlement of the people of Petite Savanne who were displaced by Tropical Storm Erika.

On Thursday, the government of Dominica formally signed a contract with Montreal Management Consultants Est (MMCE) for the construction of houses for the resettlement of the people of the community.

The government has bought about 49.6 acres of land in Bellevue Chopin for the resettlement, and over $2-million was paid for the acquisition.

In an interview with Dominica News Online on Friday, Leblanc thanked CEO of MMCE, Dr. Anthony Haiden, and other workers at the company for considering the involvement of local construction companies.

“I think we are happy that we were given an opportunity this time,” he said. “We really want to pour out our gratitude to Dr. Haiden, who approached us directly to do that, and the other people of MMCE, and the fact that they are the people who conceptualized, and the people who organized the financing for the project that saw necessary to make sure there was a social element of this project, beyond the construction, that the local construction industry should be given an opportunity to get involved.”

Leblanc, also serving as a Director of Ace Engineering Ltd.—one of the local companies included in the initial stages of the project—stated that while only preliminary discussions pertaining to the scope of the work have been held, selected local contractors, as well as international contractors, will be allowed to bid on the project.

However, he elaborated that the project is too extensive for any one local company to undertake, and will demand collective effort from Dominican contractors and skilled persons.

“It’s not one that any one of us contractors can do; so it’s going to be team work, it’s going to be joint contracting for many local contractors and skilled persons. So, it’s going to be work for many of us to do,” he explained.

The cost of the resettlement project was not revealed by the government, as it was said it is still in the “conceptual stage.” However, Leblanc said that that stage has passed.

The venture will be funded by the Citizenship by Investment Program.

Construction is expected to begin on the July 1 and is expected to last for one year.

Recently, the JCCCS, raised concerns and threatened legal action over the manner in which the West Bridge project was given to a Barbados-based company saying it was not done in line with the Public Procurement and Contract Administration Act and the fact that there are local companies capable of doing the job.

DNO was told that the matter is still being discussed and it hasn’t reached the courts as yet.