INNISFAIL – All of a sudden, the town has positive and encouraging proof of sustainable growth that could be a long-awaited sign that future prosperity may not just be a pipe dream.
A building summary report for the first nine months of 2021 was presented to town council on Nov. 1 and it showed undeniable evidence of significant rising building permit numbers and values, especially for residential and commercial development.
“Our building permit totals are already better than last year for sure. For housing starts we are well ahead from where we have been,” said Town of Innisfail Mayor Jean Barclay.
Innisfail’s total building permit value for the first nine months is $8,553,051, which is more than $2.4 million more than for all of 2020, said the building report. The town is also on track to better 2019 totals when total permit values were $9.7 million. When institutional building permits are excluded, Innisfail could have his best building year since 2016 when permit values totalled just over $10.1 million.
“Generally, it was a pretty busy year for development, so that is something I haven’t necessarily been able to say for a while,” said Meghan Jenkins, the town’s community services director, who presented the building permit statistical report to council.
Jenkins noted to date for 2021 there has been 16 low density residential permits for housing starts in Innisfail, compared to just four permits for 13 homes during the entire year of 2020.
She said the town has not seen that many housing starts since 2015 and 2016 when 17 permits for 17 and 18 homes respectively were reported for each of those entire years. Jenkins added to council that her staff received additional applications the previous week that will likely surpass figures for 2015 and 2016.
“We also see the Bella Vista community and the building that has taken place there and as well we’ve had housing in Napoleon Meadows,” said Barclay. “That may have stalled a little bit with the lumber prices when they rose significantly last summer but that has settled down somewhat.
“I am looking forward to another successful year going into next year. It is good to see these new communities building out and hopefully we’ll see that continue,” added the mayor.
The news from Jenkins for the first nine months of 2021 was also good for commercial building construction. The town issued nine permits valued at $3,806,728. That compares to 19 commercial building permits worth $3,328,702 that were issued for all of 2020. Since 2014, only 2019 has been better on the commercial side when 16 permits were issued with a value of just over $5.5 million.
With garage and renovation building permits, the town issued 35 in the first nine months of 2021. They had a collective value of just over $600,000, far below 2020 when 48 permits were issued and worth just over $1.5 million. However, this year’s nine-month totals are competitive with every other year since 2012.
On the industrial side, the town has issued three building permits so far in 2021 with a value of $212,300, which is far better than figures for all of last year but well below most years since 2012.
With institutional construction, the town has only recorded one building permit worth $5,000 for the first nine months of 2021. The town recorded one institutional permit in 2020 but with zero value.
So far in 2021, the town has not recorded any building permits for multi-unit residential projects, which was the same scenario as 2020.
Council accepted Jenkins’ report as information.