|Chaguanas – Trinidad’s fastest
Thursday 29th July, 2004
We are starting a two-part look at Chaguanas—Trinidad’s fastest
growing town. When one considers the extent and quality of the
developments there, it is easy to understand why some people call
Chaguanas the “new capital of Trinidad.”
The first in the series will set out some of the main factors acting
to propel and limit those developments.
The second article will outline some of the main challenges facing
the borough in the medium-term as the effects of current developments
Chaguanas is certainly the capital of central Trinidad and it is
arguably also the shopping capital of the entire country.
Apart from the busy Chaguanas Main Road, shoppers also have several
malls to choose— the Mid-Centre Mall, Centre Pointe Mall, Centre City
Mall, PriceSmart/Price Plaza and the Food Basket complex.
Its location— along the Solomon Hochoy Highway between Port-of-Spain
and San Fernando, with easy access to the Couva/Point Lisas district—is
key to understanding the character and pace of Chaguanas’ development.
The supply of land in Chaguanas is not as large as first appearances
would suggest, since large parts of the surrounding land are in State
ownership via Caroni. As a result of that, there is great competition
for the limited available land with steep price increases being a
We were able to have easy reference to the March 2001 Udecott
Chaguanas Local Area Plan to gather some of the basic data for this
article. This is available online at
A copy of the Chaguanas Borough Council’s “Chaguanas Development Plan
1997-1998—A Vision for the New Chaguanas” is also available from Udecott,
regrettably not on online.
If we are really committed to doing better in
the future, it is essential that these documents be readily available.
Some of the positive factors influencing Chaguanas’ development are:
In complete contrast to PoS, Chaguanas’ population is increasing
significantly. The two are feeding off each other in that the
rapidly-increasing property prices in PoS and its western districts have
made it impossible for most middle-income families to afford homes in
Large parts of the East/West Corridor are fast becoming unreachable
for this group and this is driving many younger families to buy the more
affordable homes now available in the Chaguanas area.
One could see this as a kind of trade in that PoS has “exported”
those workers who could afford to move all in order to free its land for
more lucrative development, whilst retaining the services of many of
Chaguanas, for its part, has “imported” new residents with their
spending power in the process becoming a kind of “dormitory suburb” for
the East/West Corridor.
The data shows an overall increase across the district, including the
original settlements in the town. The Chaguanas district includes Lange
Park, Orchard Gardens Felicity, Charlieville, Longdenville, Carlsen
Field and parts of Cunupia.
The population growth is set out in the sidebar. It is true that a
number of these new residents work elsewhere but their spending power
plays a key role in the other aspects of the growth in Chaguanas.
The presence of these new consumers has added a substantial impetus
to the already strong retail sector in Chaguanas.
Changes in Property Values
Commercial Land at Mulchan Seuchan Road
Orchard Gardens model home - 3 Beds 1 Bath
Edinburgh 500 model home - 3 Beds 1 Bath
Homeland Gardens model home - 3 Beds 1 Bath
Changes in population levels
Like most of our busy towns the constant heavy traffic is an
unavoidable feature of central Chaguanas and the projected population
increase would only make this worse if the transport system is not
The borough would certainly benefit from the development of some sort
of traffic hub for taxis and maxis—like City Gate—to ease some of the
constant heavy traffic in the centre of Chaguanas. This is yet another
aspect of the infrastructure deficit.
The borough is also exhibiting some of the characteristics of PoS in
terms of the heavy traffic and limited development options in its
These have driven the new, large and high-quality developments to the
eastern outskirts of the centre.
Some of these would include Republic Bank’s centralised operations
centre and the new UTC building on Mulchan Seuchan Road, the PriceSmart/Price
Plaza development and Food Basket Plaza both at the Endeavour Road
junction of the Solomon Hochoy Highway.
The borough council and the other planning bodies need to ensure that
there is enough attention given to the development of parks and
recreation areas for the needs of the growing population.
Parks not only make a place beautiful to live, they can also increase
property values and offer employment opportunities. Saith Park off the
Chaguanas Main Road is already adding to the amenities in the area.