Kralendijk – Fundashon Cas Bonairiano (FCB) does not intend to sit with their arms crossed until the dispute with the Ministry of the Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BZK) about the financing of new construction is solved. According to FCB director Ben Oleana the housing shortage on Bonaire is simply too high for that. There is a shortage of at least 500 affordable rental homes, but the amount of homes needed may actually be double that.
A stalemate has arisen around the FCB plan to build 500 homes in the social housing sector: construction costs have risen sharply since Bonaire became a ‘special municipality’ in the year 2010. Assistance from BZK would have resulted in (much) lower financing costs and thus, lower rents for those who need it most. State Secretary Raymond Knops however refuses, as mentioned earlier, to provide the housing association with a government guarantee. Earlier this week Knops blamed FCB-director Ben Oleana for the delay in the construction of the much needed homes, saying that Oleana was not ‘sufficiently cooperative’ with his ministry’s desire to start the project in cooperation with Dutch housing foundations who, according to Knops, would do a better job. Knops also called FCB’s business plan ‘not feasible’.
FCB has now decided that they will, in spite of the lack of cooperation from The Hague, start the construction of 76 new homes on their own, after securing the needed financing of 5,75 million dollars from a local bank at a rate of 4,4%. Because the talks with the ministry dragged themselves into such difficulties, the FCB went in parallel to look for funding for the construction of 76 social housing in the Nieuw Amsterdam plan area. It is an investment of 5.75 million dollars. A 470,000 dollar subsidy was pledged to FCB by he so-called ‘Bommelberaad’ – a joint venture between the Dutch housing corporations Woonlinie and ‘thuis. The remaining 750,000 dollars needed to execute the project, will be brought in by FCB itself. “We will start construction on 1 June”, says Oleana.
The foundation is looking for the solution for the relatively high rents not only in cheaper financing, but also in alternative construction methods. Later today, parliament member Liesbeth van Tongeren (GroenLinks) will raise the dispute between the FCB and the ministry in a debate by the parliamentary committee on relations with Knops.