It’s a third straight record-breaking construction year in Kamloops.
The city’s building department pushed $1 million worth of permits out the door on the final day of 2019 to surpass for a third straight year building permit values
Last year, the city issued $288.3 million worth of permits, a new record and one that surpasses the previous record of $285 million, set in 2018.
City of Kamloops building and engineering development manager Jason Dixon called it “exciting.”
“It just means it was another busy year,” he told KTW.
Busy year, indeed. Looking back at the construction year that was, Dixon rattled off significant project after significant project. One year ago, in January 2019, a $3.5-million permit was issued for a mini-storage facility on the former Brass Kettle restaurant property at the corner of Pacific Way and Hugh Allan Drive in Aberdeen.
In March, $5-million worth of renovations were approved for the Old Main Building at Thompson Rivers University. The following month, the city issued a permit for a Brandt Tracker facility in Dallas worth $11 million.
Add in affordable housing projects, Aberdeen Mall renovations, more work at Thompson Rivers University (two residential buildings in The Reach development, worth $17.5 million) and the Royal Inland Hospital patient-care tower at $33 million.
“There’s big projects every month as I go through the year,” Dixon said.
Overall in 2019, the city issued $165.4 million worth of residential permits and $109.9 million worth of commercial permits, similar to that of 2018, with a slight bump on the residential side ($163.8 million in residential was issued in 2018).
Dixon called it a “strong year residentially.”
Across the board, permits were issued for 766 new dwelling units. The majority of those new housing units were multi-family — apartments or otherwise — at 613. Dixon said the emphasis on mixed-use, multi-family development parallels the city’s push toward sustainability and long-range planning, wherein neighbourhoods are densifying and more residential is winding up downtown and in North Kamloops.
While building permit values were up, the number of permits was slightly down in 2019 over 2018, at 814 compared to 970. That could equate to larger projects and also inflation, with construction costs on the rise. Looking ahead to 2020, it appears the city’s building department will remain busy and it is quite possible the permit-value record will again be eclipsed.
In 2020, the remainder of the hospital’s patient-care tower project will hit the books, with many more millions more of dollars worth of construction planned, in addition to Valleyview secondary’s expansion and, possibly, the beginning of the rebuilding of Parkcrest elementary, which was destroyed by fire in September.
“We hear rumblings of projects that people are working on,” Dixon said. “No applications yet, but significant.”
In December, the two largest permits issued were for the former Safeway space in Sahali Mall and the former Sears location in Aberdeen Mall. Parent company Sobeys closed Safeway in November and will re-open the store in the spring as a Freshco discount supermarket. Part of the space in Aberdeen Mall formerly occupied by Sears will become a Fresh Street Market grocery store. Each permit was worth $3 million.