Building Permit Values in Cranbrook on Pace to Reach "Unprecedented" $40-Million by End of 2018

Credit: Columbia Basin Trust

Permit numbers are great, but Cranbrook city council also expressed the desire for more information on how housing projects are progressing.

The third quarter of 2018 was quite a bit slower than in the same time last year when it comes to building permits, but 2018 overall is seeing big gains over last year.

Mayor Lee Pratt says 2017 was a record-setter for the city with $27.8 million in approved projects on the books, while this year up until the end of September saw a 33% increase to $37.1 million. 

2018's numbers were largely driven by growth in multi-family residential projects.

"We know there's plenty of people wanting to move here and part of the problem of them not being able to is the housing shortage, so it's good that we're seeing residential and multi-family coming up and supplying some of that housing," says Pratt.

More than half of the $7.2 million in permit values in the last quarter came from nine new housing starts, which includes single-family, medium multi-family, and high multi-family projects.

By the time this year is done, the mayor estimates that we will have seen $40 million in growth, which would be unprecedented for the city.

While Councillor Danielle Eaton mentioned during this week's council meeting that it is great to see an increase in building permits, building permits do not equal shovels on the ground.

She says developments get approved by city council, but if it takes up to a couple of years to get construction started, people think that there is simply no work being done on housing in Cranbrook.

Pratt adds that, sometimes, they will approve the re-zoning of a plot of land with the idea that something will get built on it, but the purchaser merely holds on to it and sells it to someone else a few years later.

As members of council were wondering what could be done to improve the situation, Chief Administrative Officer David Kim suggested including provisions during the zoning stage where the developer would have to provide a rough idea of when they would start to build their proposed property.

No formal plans have been made yet to do this, but council appeared to be eager to get something like this in the works.

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