It’s been close to a year since the state announced that a housing development to curb the spread of Covid-19 was in the works for the people of Dunoon.
The development, of some 1 500 flats at the Racing Park site, promises to alleviate the poor living conditions in the township, where broken water pipes, potholed roads and sewage spills are common and pose a grave health risk.
The deterioration of Dunoon has accelerated as ever more people move to the area in the hope of landing work in the nearby commercial and industrial precincts. This, according to residents, has turned the area into a ticking time bomb.
The Covid-19 pandemic has only aggravated the situation. Mix in the unemployment, poverty, hunger and frustration that have accompanied lockdown and it’s anyone’s better whether it will be a health emergency or social unrest that will blow the lid off the pressure cooker.
The housing plan proposed by the government clearly recognises the potential for a crisis in Dunoon and other communities like it, but it needs to be given top priority. That doesn’t mean rushing through poorly conceived building plans or taking short cuts by ignoring sound construction practices, but it does mean clearing the decks so that those working on the project can give it their full attention.
Let’s treat the demand for housing and adequate services in Dunoon and other vulnerable communities with the same urgency we have given to fighting the pandemic because, make no mistake, the virus of complacency that infects our corridors of power has the potential to be far more dangerous to our country in the long run.