Revelstoke building permit values are by almost 40 per cent over last year, according to a new report by the City of Revelstoke’s planning department.
The city issued 127 building permits worth $14,181,000 as of August 31. That’s 30 fewer building permits than in the same period last year, but the value of the permits is $3,835,000 higher.
“Building permit statistics can vary significantly from month to month. However, the total annual building permit value is generally used as a measure of construction activity in communities across British Columbia,” says Dean Strachan in a report to council.
The increase is led by a spike in new home construction, which is up more than $7 million from last year thanks to the construction of 23 new homes in the city so far. Fifteen new homes were built in all of 2015.
Strachan told council that five more new home applications had come into city hall since the report was written.
At the same time, the value of commercial building permits is down by more than $3 million to $2.8 million compared to last year.
The increase in building permit value has meant challenges for the planning department, which saw building inspector Marty Herbert leave earlier in the year, his replacement Faruq Patel only stay on for a few months, and Herbert to return to the post after Patel left.
The city has attempted to hire a second building inspector to handle the increased workload.
“We’re evaluating the market place right now,” Strachan told council on Tuesday. “They’re a very precious commodity in the local government right now. They’re not easy to corral. We want to evaluate the competitions that are going on and look for a second inspector in the very near future.”
The report also provides a look at how long it takes to approve applications. According to the planning department, it takes two days to issue a sign permit, 10 days to issue a building permit, one month for a development permit, two months for a development variance permit, three to four months for a rezoning, and one month for a subdivision.
The value of residential building permits has surpassed the total for all of 2014 and 2015.
“As we continue through the construction season the data indicates development activity is likely to continue to increase into 2017,” concludes Strachan.
Mayor Mark McKee said the report showed people are confident in Revelstoke’s future.
“I’m happy with the numbers for this year and I’m looking forward to what we’re going to be doing next year as well,” he said.