Recent growth in Kamloops can be measured by new car washes. Or by a new furniture store and storage facilities. Or by simply taking a drive and making note of developments popping up.
“Things are happening,” city development director Marvin Kwiatkowski told Canadian Home Builders’ Association-Central Interior members on Wednesday night.
Calling it an “exciting” time, Kwiatkowski recapped for industry reps 2018 and forecast another busy year. Last year, the city issued a record-breaking $285 million in building permits.
“I have a feeling we’re going to break another record,” Kwiatkowski said.
Large projects in the works include the Royal Inland Hospital patient-care tower and a 112-unit mixed-use seniors housing and commercial project on Sixth Avenue and Victoria Street. Kwiatkowski noted a performing-arts centre in council’s strategic plan, though he said that likely wouldn’t come to fruition this year. Proposed projects include a new Sheraton hotel at 1250 Rogers Way, with 99 rooms and a 75-seat restaurant, and a “food store” in the former Sears space in Aberdeen Mall.
Issues for the industry going forward include increasing the city’s industrial land supply, agricultural land rule changes, working with First Nations and cutting of red tape, which Kwiatkowski said some councillors heard a desire for “loud and clear” during the election.
The association is pleased with the numbers and activity level. However, CHBA-CI president Kelly Reid said the BC Energy Step Code continues to be a concern.
He said the association is working with the city on implementation, but noted provincial changes in December that made it more difficult to attain steps toward greener building. Reid said significant costs and challenges have arisen as a result and costs trickle down to homebuyers.
“It [Step Code] was brought out and presented to the province in one way and it’s been significantly changed,” Reid said. “So it’s something that has become a concern quite recently.”
Meanwhile, Reid praised the city for approving funding in this year’s budget for an additional building inspector.
“Obviously there’s plenty of work for them to do,” he said.