This article appeared in the Kamloops This Week on January 3rd, 2013 and was written by Andrea Klassen.
For the first time since 2008, Kamloops has handed out more than $200 million in building permits in a single year.
The city’s latest statistics show $202-million in permits were given out in 2012, compared to $162.5 million in 2011.
City staff had originally predicted they would hand out between $130 and $150 million in permits this year, but a number of major projects drove the estimate up.
Among those was the Telus data centre. Its $30-million permit accounted for nearly all the $31-million in commercial-building permits issued in December 2012.
“That’s the one that put us over,” said city director of development and engineering services Marvin Kwiatkowski, who expects the big-ticket projects to continue into 2013.
“There’s still some others coming through the door, so I think we’re going to have a good start this year as well.”
Among the projects on the horizon are an $8-million permit for interior work on the new law building (the revamped Old Main Building) at Thompson Rivers University, a new $2.2-million John Deere dealership and a $60-million permit for the new clinical-care and parkade building at Royal Inland Hospital.
“It’s positive, because it’s putting people to work,” Kwiatkowski said. “When you’re having large projects of that nature, you’re having a lot of activity in the city. So, that’s a positive for our economy.”
After two years of relatively flat residential-construction numbers — 350 units of new housing were built in 2012, compared to 400 in 2011 — Kwiatkowski said that sector will probably pick up this year.
“We’ve got three larger multi-family projects, totalling just over 200 units. It could be close to $20 million with these three projects alone,” he said. That is more multi-family units than were built in the city in all of 2012.
For 2013, Kwiatkowski is predicting the city will hand out about $160-million in permits. Taking into account the projects he’s already aware of, Kwiatkowski is confident that target will be met.
“If you throw in all these projects here, including the hospital, we’re close to $100 million. And, if I put in residential like we’ve had the last couple of years, that’s another $40 million,” he said.
From there, smaller projects should fill the $20 million gap.
Kwiatkowski is also hoping to see more single-family home permits handed out in 2013 — a trend that often follows a period of heavy commercial construction.
Only 131 permits for single family homes were given out in 2012, two fewer than in 2011.