Cranes continue to soar through Kamloops skies, silhouetted against rolling hills.
But those cranes are not part of the Naturalist Club’s annual bird count; they are marking the beginning of another busy building year in Kamloops.
The city’s development manager, Jason Dixon, delivered a bold prediction just one month into the 2020 building year — a fourth straight record-breaking year.
Dixon’s confidence is predicated on one massive project, that being the Royal Inland Hospital’s $417-million patient-care tower expansion, which is underway and scheduled to be finished by the summer of 2022.
“I would fully expect that we’ll have another record this year, just because of that project,” Dixon told KTW.
“It may seem a little bold to predict that. It’s really because we know just how massive that hospital project is. Even if we had an average year, and you tack that on the top, we would break that [last year’s record].”
In 2019, the city issued $288.3 million worth of building permits. In 2018, it issued $285 million and, in 2017, it issued $224 million.
All three years marked the highest building-permit values on record for the city. The previous record was $208 million, set in 2008.
Building-permit statistics are off to a strong start in 2020, according to the first monthly report, which has been released by the city.
In January, 87 permits worth $19.5 million were issued.
During the same month last year, 84 permits worth $9.4 million were issued.
Dixon said the main difference this January was an $11-million expansion of Chartwell Ridgeview Retirement Residence in Pineview Valley, which is adding a whole new wing of 90 units.
Take that project away, Dixon said, and the numbers are similar to last year.
Also on the books in January was a $700,000 site servicing permit that will pave way for a multi-family project on Babine Avenue in Juniper.
Looking ahead to the remainder of 2020, city council recently approved tax breaks to encourage commercial development downtown and in North Kamloops.
Only time will tell how that may impact the books, though Dixon cited The Hive project — announced less than 24 hours after council gave its nod to the expanded tax exemptions — as a development permit application that is expected soon.
The tax exemption policy gives new and enhanced commercial developments a 10-year holiday from paying property taxes.
It is intended to incentivize development in the downtown and Tranquille Market areas.
The Hive is a three-building office complex that is expected to rise in stages on land surrounding the downtown Delta Kamloops Hotel, between Lansdowne and Victoria streets and between Fifth and Sixth avenues.
The project will feature ground-level retail shops below multi-storey offices.
Also expected to add to the city’s building-permit values this year is the $34.5-million expansion to Valleyview secondary.