West Kelowna’s development services department says it dealt with a record-breaking number of building permits in 2016.
According to the department, total construction value last year was $116.3 million and all signs are pointing to an even better year in this year.
“We knew during the year that 2016 was going to far exceed any previous years by the number of applications and the quality of the projects we were seeing,” said Nancy Henderson, general manager of development services in West Kelowna.
“To say we were extremely busy in 2016 is putting it mildly, and so far in 2017 we are not seeing any signs of a slowdown. In fact, I would say we may be looking at another record-breaking year based on the interest we are seeing for larger scale multiple-family projects, something we haven’t seen a lot of since 2008.”
Last year, the city issued 649 building permits, compared to 507 in 2015, involving 174 single-family dwellings and 17 multi-family dwellings with a total of 90 units.
In 2015, 82 single-family homes received permits and 13 multi-family dwellings, with a total of 50 units, were approved.
With new carriage house regulations now in place, the city saw seven carriage home permits handed out in 2016.
While not even a month into this year, West Kelonwa is dealing with a number of large-scale projects involving multi-family dwellings, said Henderson.
To help handle the increased workload, the city implemented an application software system last year that has helped to streamline the management of applications.
The city will launch a public portal to this software in the coming months to allow both applicants and the public to access information and monitor the status of development applications.
Increased construction in the community results in increased application fee and development cost charge (DCC) revenues. DCCs are fees paid by developers to fund infrastructure improvements associated with growth.
Recently released B.C. statistics indicate West Kelowna’s population growth continues, with a 2.7% increase over 2015. West Kelowna leads the Central Okanagan in population growth and is estimated now to have a population of 34,930.
“We have been anticipating an upswing as we watched the B.C. economy improve and grow over the last few years,” said Henderson.
“Judging from our growing population, we believe we will see continued development in not only residential development but also in the commercial and industrial sectors as well.”