This article was written by Jeremy Deutsch of Kamloops This Week on January 9th, 2012.
Despite fears of a double-dip recession and lingering issues with the harmonized sales tax, 2011 turned out to be a pretty good year for construction in the Tournament Capital.
The city handed out $162.5-million in building permits in 2011, which ended up to $40 million more than projected.
David Trawin, the city’s director of development and engineering services, said the year was saved by a strong showing in commercial and industrial development.
The city issued $57-million in commercial/industrial permits in 2011, including another $2.8 million in December, besting the previous year by $7 million.
Conversely, residential construction dropped significantly in 2011.
The city handed out $96-million in permits last year, down from $129 million in 2010.
As for 2012, Trawin is offering a conservative estimate — predicting the city will hit between $130 million and $150 million in permit value.
“I’m considering next year to be an average year for Kamloops,” he said.
However, there are some big projects expected to land on the department’s desk, including permits for a Telus data centre, an Interior Health Authority development in North Kamloops and a new Marriott hotel in Aberdeen, at the site of the former Home Hardware store at Pacific Way and Rogers Way.
Trawin also expects the commercial side of construction to remain strong in 2012.
“Those are the types of building permits that bring jobs into the community,” he said, adding the residential portion will eventually follow and rebound.
Though all the numbers might not mean much to the average Kamloopsian, Trawin noted the engineering department uses the statistics to budget and plan for the year ahead.
A full report on construction activity at city hall in 2011 is expected to be in front of council early this year.
The city has only topped $200 million in permits once — in 2008.
In that year, the city doled out $207 million worth of permits, which was a record.
In a 12-month period between 2009 and 2010, the city handed out $222.5-million in permits for 883 dwelling units.
That proved to be a record.