There are no major projects on the horizon but new housing starts are providing work for the Revelstoke construction industry.
“We’ve got 6 or 7 new houses that have just come in at the end of April, beginning of May,” said Tim Luini, the senior building inspector for the City of Revelstoke. “We’re swamped trying to get everything done. Everybody’s waiting for us to get the plans examined.”
According to Peter Bernacki of Nu-Trend Construction, this is one of the busiest years for new housing starts in years.
“Housing is big for the economy because the more housing starts the more everybody benefits,” he said.
Revelstoke has undergone a construction boom over the past few years, with the construction of the phases two and three of the Sutton Place Hotel, the two new schools, and the Best Western Hotel.
The value of building permits issued by the city in April 2012 was way down from last year, but Luini said the numbers in May are better.
With the schools wrapping up by the end of summer and the hotels finished, the boom appears to be over, though construction on Units 5 and 6 at Mica Dam is ongoing.
For Alan Mason, the city’s director of economic development, the numbers in the boom years make the weak years look worse than they really are.
“Sometimes I think the quieter years look really bad but when you look over a 10-year average, it looks normal,” he said.
There are some potentially big projects on the horizon, notably the proposed Revelstoke Crossing development along the Trans-Canada Highway, and the Shelter Bay development south of town.
Luini said the housing starts that have come through so far are “fairly large.” He was also encouraged by some vacant storefronts filling up.
“Compared to other communities that I’ve talked to, they’re dead. The fact we’re still building is a good thing,” he said.