The deal: At least 66% of new homes to be built must be affordable for residents.

Soon (end of June) Hugo de Jonge, Minister for Housing and Spatial Planning, will return to Bonaire. His officials have gone to great lengths to make arrangements with various stakeholders to shape “the deal” and make it work. An essential starting point of the deal must be that at least 66% of the homes to be built consist of social housing, mid-rental housing and affordable owner-occupied housing (*).

After all, that is what it is all about, affordable living for the inhabitants of Bonaire.

Deal preparations

At the beginning of March there was a symposium Affordable Building where a public request was made to the market parties. The question was for concrete proposals to build ‘fast and a lot’ on government land offered by the OLB at a favorable purchase price. Not one proposal has been received.

Also, meetings have been held, but nothing formal has come out of this.

What now….

  1. Hugo wants a signed housing deal because that is also good for his image.
  2. The developers, some [former] politicians and brokers have moved in the corridors, approached contacts, and joined forces. They want to get rid of the 66% affordable housing because the remainder (33%) is far too little for the free market, as the real money can be made in the free market.

The apparent solution…

  1. Hugo reduces the 66% affordable housing and thus increases the part for the free market. The autograph and photo moment seem guaranteed.
  2. The developers, brokers, and some [former] politicians have deliberately waited for this moment in the wings and are now getting excited, after all there is much more money to be made.

The BC is now also happy to put their signature and the money earned is divided between the traditional parties: the developers, brokers and some [former] politicians.

The consequences:

  1. The residents of Bonaire will have considerably less affordable houses and are also disadvantaged compared to the European Netherlands, where the requirement of at least 66% affordable housing is preserved.
  2. The developers, real estate agents and some [former] politicians ‘harvest’ quietly and rub their hands with glee. Zoning plan and permits will be no obstruction.
  3. Nature again loses out.

Summary of the deal:

The residents of Bonaire, for whom this deal was intended, lose out now (no house) and in the future (no nature) and the rest enjoy it, richer and smiling (see the photo at the end of June).

The real solution:

Maintain the requirement of at least 66% affordable housing. Where this is not financially feasible in specific cases, let the European Netherlands contribute. Then you can speak of a real deal with winners on both sides of the Ocean.

Published in the Bonaire Reporter June 7-June 21, 2023

(*) social rental housing: up to USD 937 p/m, mid-range rental housing from USD 937 to USD 1000 p/m and affordable owner-occupied housing up to USD 225,000.