While the number of building permits issued in Fort St. John last month went down from last year, the number issued in Dawson Creek was on the rise.
Fort St. John saw five residential permits issued in January at an estimated construction value of $890,000. The permits were for two single-family homes, one mobile home, one duplex and one garage/renovation. At the same time last year, seven permits had been issued with an estimated construction value of $1,731,000.
However, numbers can be deceiving, according to Rick Fudge, building inspector for the City of Fort St. John.
“When you look at last year, basically we put the same number of residences out, it was just that we had more commercial,” said Fudge. “If you look at housing starts, it’s almost the same.”
In January 2012, permits were issued for two single family, one duplex and four mobile homes, as well as five commercial permits. No commercial permits were issued in January 2013.
Meanwhile, in Dawson Creek, seven development permits were given last month. The amount totaled $3 million, with the largest contribution coming from an Air Liquide manufacturing plant worth $2.4 million.
At the same time last year, Dawson Creek handed out a total of five building permits. Four residential permits were issued with a construction value of approximately $666,051 and only one commercial permit was issued with a value of $880,000 giving that month a construction valued of $1,546,051.
Mayor Mike Bernier said that he considered the fact that January 2013 had more development permits than January 2012 to be "great news."
"It just shows again the investment climate is still quite vibrant," he added. "The whole region is continuing to grow."
While the City now had to face the challenges of accommodating a growing population, it was "good problems to have."
Even though the number of permits are down in Fort St. John for the month of January compared to last year, Fudge doesn’t see it as a reason to be concerned.
“It varied under the given month. We may not put out any commercial months, but then in the span of 30 days, we could put out a dozen,” noted Fudge.
He also added, that considering the weather, he thinks this month’s number have been positive.
“It’s a good number of starts and with the weather that we’ve been having, it’s actually really good. Obviously it means growth … if building is going on then you know there’s activity.”
Additional reporting by William Stodalka