Powell River continues to grow.

The city’s Planning Services Department says that building permits are up about 60 per cent for the first half of this year compared to last.

“We just passed the $30 million mark in building construction values,” said Director of Planning Services, Thomas Knight. “That’s up $12 million over the same period last year. It’s a significant increase and we’re confident we’ll end the year with historic numbers.”
The total amount in building permits issued through June 2019 is $30,780,424 compared to approximately $18 million for the same period in 2018.

“The economy continues to diversify, and these numbers show that construction is one of our key economic drivers,” said Mayor Dave Formosa. “It’s amazing for a small and isolated community like Powell River to see this growth and indicates that more people are choosing to live here. We’re continuing to add to our tax base and the construction industry is creating jobs. And let’s not forget that included in these new statistics is new affordable housing developments and rentals.”

The most recent, 75-unit seniors-oriented facility referred to as Coastal Winds will have studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites with market rentals starting at rates below what are being charged for similar facilities in the Comox Valley and Campbell River.

“One of the housing goals set by the Planning Services Department is to provide local seniors with affordable housing to downsize and free up other housing to meet market demand,” said Knight.

The biggest increase and what drove values up was the focus on new multiple family versus single family construction. There were five multiple family building permits issued through to June, with 154 residential units planned for a total value of over $23 million.

New single-family residential values were down approximately $1 million from $5,683,500 in 2018 to $4,588,500 this year.

Permits for carriage houses were also down from 2018. Although planning staff continue to approve carriage houses, the cost of their construction and availability of contractors could be factoring in to the reduction of these types of units, according to Knight.

Overall, 97 building permits have been issued to date, amounting to 177 units created with five months remaining in the year. Those are significant increases from the previous year. During the same period in 2018, there were 87 permits and 25 units created.