The City of Swift Current has already enjoyed an all-time record year in building permit totals, with a full month remaining to increase that total.
Swift Current has recorded a record $82.3 million in building permits during the first 11 months of 2012, a total which is 16 per cent higher than the previous record year of 2007 where $71 million in building permit activity was recorded.
"We've had a lot of good years in a row actually. 2007 before this year was the record at $71 million, and we've outpaced that significantly at $82.3 million this year, and we still have December numbers to come in," noted Director of Business Development Marty Salberg. "It's been a very good year on all fronts, whether it be industrial shops, there's been lots of commercial renovations and new buildings being built. You can look in the malls and you can look downtown and you can see the new looks of a lot of the buildings."
The building permit totals were boosted this year by investments in commercial buildings and a series of significant commercial additions and renovations in 2012. The largest project is a $40 million permit for the joint use elementary schools being constructed by the Chinook School Division and the Holy Trinity Catholic Division. Totals are also heightened by the $9 million building permit issued for a 72 unit personal care home construction project by Golden Health Care.
"Although this is not by any means a complete list of development activities that have occurred in 2012, it does highlight the fact that significant investment into Swift Current have taken place and the foundation is solid for another good year in 2013."
During 2012, Swift Current issued 51 single family residential building permits at an average of $360,000 per unit. This year's total was nearly double the long term average, as over the past 15 years the city has averaged 27.5 single family building permits annually.
"We've tied the record number of residential building permits in a single year and anticipate that we will surpass it in the next short couple of weeks," Salberg explained after presenting the totals during the Dec. 10 Swift Current City Council meeting.
Salberg reported residential lot sales moved at a higher than expected level in the Highland subdivision, leaving only two high end lots on Kelburn Bay after a total of 55 lots were purchased.
Salberg reported during Monday's meeting that Crutch's Plumbing and Heating Ltd. has taken a six month option on a 1.8 acre property in the Munro Industrial Park to construct a new 6,000 square foot building. They have outgrown the space they began in when they began operations in April 2010, and they are constructing new shop space as their current employee base has grown to 10 employees.
Last month Salberg reported to council that one Industrial Park parcel of land was purchased by Pal Pahel Holdings Ltd. to construct a 4,000 square foot packaged snack food production facility, while CTS Holdings Inc. (Custom Truck Sales) placed an option to purchase on a 4.4 acre parcel of serviced property in order to construct a 15,900 square foot full service Kenworth dealership.
"Various industrial shops have been built through the city as well as businesses have began to purchase land in Munro Industrial Park, which will result in considerable industrial development in 2013," Salberg said.
The city now turns their residential development focus to the Valley Ridge Subdivision near the Cypress Regional Hospital, where 31 lots remain available out of an original inventory of 46 lots.
Director of Engineering Mac Forster noted that an open house will be hosted on Dec. 19 in order to gauge feedback on the sector plan prepared for the North East Urban Expansion Area. With a series of initiatives underway or planned for the Valley Ridge subdivision area, that makes it imperative that a proper development strategy is formulated in order to ensure the proper growth and development. The City has been working with AECOM to prepare this sector plan.
"The primary goal of this project is to undertake a planning study of the subject area, and develop a planning strategy that provides a framework and general policy guide to direct the future growth and development of this area."
Next Wednesday's public consultation will allow the public to discuss the plans with City officials and representatives from AECOM. The Open House is set for Dec. 19 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Swift Current Mall.
A final design and policy framework will be completed and this concept plan will be presented to City Council during a public hearing in early 2013.
The city has also identified two other major residential growth areas, including the North West area located west and northwest of the Highland Subdivision, plus the South Hill area located south of Marston St.
Mayor Jerrod Schafer said the investment of $82 million in construction dollars is appreciated.
"I greatly appreciate those business owners who continue to invest in our community. Those investors who are putting their dollars into our community. And of course our residents that continue to put their dollars at work. Fifty-one housing starts in Swift Current, I think that's pretty significant, especially when it seems like globally things are so uncertain right now that things are still pretty strong here."