Written by SHARLA TORRE MONTVEL-COHEN
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
GUAM – The Guam Land Use Commission approved Core Tech International's application to convert an existing 856 units in Tamuning to temporary housing for workers coming to Guam for military construction projects. The conditional use approval was granted at a commission hearing on Tuesday, April 12.The Core Tech application to convert the old Royal Hawaiian Apartments came before the GLUC last month, but was tabled to allow the company more time to document its plans for traffic management, medical operations and sewerage management on site.
Core Tech easily won acceptance for its traffic plan, which according to GLUC chairperson Jay Lather, showed that "the impact to traffic patterns will be less than current use by residents."
Mr. Lather, who just prior to the hearing conducted an onsite inspection of the project, complimented Core Tech for upgrades to the surrounding area. "I'm thoroughly impressed. You've improved the neighborhood. But it bothers me that we're still lacking this info."
The company was still lacking a signed statement accepting management responsibility for the project's sewer lift station and a plan for managing workforce medical concerns.
Conditional use approval was granted after a 10-minute recess saved the day. Company CEO Juno Eun returned to the meeting with the required sewerage statement and a hurried, abbreviated statement of its medical services protocol. The company documented that aside from an onsite dispensary for minor medical concerns, workers needing physician care would be sent to Hafa Adai Specialists or the clinic of Dr. Y. G. Chang.
Mr. Lather insisted that the company still provide a "medical service memorandum that details how the applicant will protect its people" and the people of Guam as well as "an agreement with its medical providers."
"Thank you to the GLUC for their acknowledgement and cooperation," Mr. Eun said. "We've shown our company's intention to improve community conditions for our workers and for the surrounding neighborhood. We promise to keep the development safe and clean for everyone."
Aside from the Royal Hawaiian redevelopment, Core Tech's workforce housing inventory includes previously approved temporary housing for 287 workers that the company took over from Fargo Pacific, Inc. in the Harmon Industrial Park.
Contractors involved in preparing Guam for the transfer of 8,600 U.S. Marines and their families and support staff from Okinawa no earlier than 2016 face one challenge in recruiting and housing the workforce needed for the construction. Many estimates for labor needs exceed 15,000 while some contractors predict less than 10,000 will be needed. Many contractors have stated they must recruit labor from abroad, mostly from the Philippines, and provide local housing and support services.
Tuesday's results aside, in all, the Land Use Commission has already approved temporary housing projects for 4,000 workers and is reviewing projects for 9,600 more. The numbers don't include a project by Younex, Inc., which is approved for 18,000 units, but which may not reach capacity because of infrastructure and other regulatory requirements needed for a temporary community of that size.
The commission defines temporary workforce housing as any structure to serve as residence for at least six workers and it must include sewerage, six-foot-high perimeter fences, sleeping, laundry, shower and toilet facilities, recreation, food services, medical care, transportation and security.
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