Land for dev’t is limited

National 1 minute, 43 seconds

BRUNEI-MUARA

AREAS for housing projects are increasingly limited as undeveloped land in Brunei is either tied to planned government projects, environmental causes or peatland that is costly to develop, the Minister of Development said.

Addressing the reasons behind the government’s move towards high-rise apartments for the national housing scheme yesterday, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Suyoi Hj Osman said there was a misconception among members of the public who claimed plenty of land remained for development.

“From an aerial view there appears to be a lot of forests (and undeveloped land), but a lot of this land is peat – which is costly to develop – and what remains and is available for development has to be divided for investment, industry, farming and housing,” the minister said.

He said 57 per cent of the sultanate is already being conserved for the Heart of Borneo initiative.

Speaking to reporters at the contract signing for the country’s first high-rise located at Lambak Kanan/Salambigar, the minister said two recent studies found that more than 70 per cent of Bruneians were receptive to the idea of vertical housing which he described as “the most efficient use of land”.

He added that the future of government housing depends on public acceptance of the $55 million project – which comprises 300 units housing up to 1,800 people, replete with a multi-storey car park and a football field, among other recreational facilities on its rooftop.

“If this first high rise project is a success and is received well by the public, _Insyallah _it will be extended.

“If it isn’t, we will try other efforts – but this could potentially mean each house will be more costly because developing the land for the houses to be built upon will be more expensive,” the minister added.

The first phase spanning 15 hectares and containing the residential apartments will be constructed in 18 months, with completion projected by 2016.

A master plan for the vicinity of the apartments is also in the works. It may include a school and other amenities such as commercial buildings.

The Brunei Times