There may still be questions about the local economy but building appears to be bouncing back in Kelowna—at least according to year-end statistics released by city hall.
Both the value of development permits issued in 2014 and the number of building permits issued were the largest in four years and eight years respectively here, the stats showed.
Kelowna’s real estate division director Doug Gilchrist, in reporting the city’s 2014 fourth quarter results to council, said the $91 million value in the fourth quarter alone put the $349 million total for 2014 ahead of any year since 2010.
The increase in building permits was even more dramatic. The 330 permits issued for single-family homes in the city was the highest total in that category since 2007, before the recession, said Gilchrist.
Coupled with those numbers was news that 1,424 new businesses took out licences last year in Kelowna, part of a total of 9,251 licences issued over the course of the year.
Other highlights of the report included Kelowna’s airport seeing 1.6 million passengers pass through its terminal in 2014, a number that was not expected to be reached until 2016.
December marked the 24th consecutive month the airport broke records for the number of passengers it served.
The city also obtained provincial and federal grants to move completion of John Hindle Drive forward this year as well as plans to complete the phase 2 expansion of Stuart Park on the downtown lakeshore.
As for the rest of the downtown projects, they are many, said Gilchrist.
He pointed to a host of planned projects, some public and some private, some both that are expected to start construction in the downtown this year, including a $46-million police building on Clement Avenue, the new Interior Health Authority office building on Doyle Avenue, the Innovation Centre beside the downtown library at Doyle and Ellis, construction of a new parkade by Memorial Arena and expansion of the existing Library Parkade, construction of Westcorp’s planned hotel at the foot of Queensway and improvements to the Lawrence and Pandosy intersection as well as Ethel Street.
“There is a significant amount of public and private investment in downtown,” Gilchrist told council, adding that is a positive sign for the city.