Non-residential activity boosts 2018 Swift Current building permit values
A significant increase in the number of non-residential building permits issued by the City of Swift Current during 2018 made up for a slowdown in residential construction activity.
“I think we did pretty good last year,” Director of Community Development Marty Salberg said. “We had no real big projects, but on the commercial end we actually saw a 58 per cent increase in commercial/industrial permits. So on the business side I was pretty pleased. and that was probably 150 or so new business licenses issued. So 2018 as it turned out was quite positive.”
The total value of building permits issued in 2018 was about $19 million, which consisted of around $7.7 million in residential building permits and just over $11 million in the commercial, industrial and institutional category.
“It wasn’t a record year by any means, given the economy being the way it was with the low oil prices and the uncertainty in that sector, and we didn’t see a heck of a lot of rain on the agriculture side of things,” he said. “It was challenging, to say the least.”
The total value of building permits issued in 2018 was about $10 million less than the previous year. In 2017 the overall value of building permits was about $29 million, of which residential permits represented about $22.7 million.
While 86 new single and multi-family residential units were constructed in 2017, it dropped to 25 new units in 2018.
Salberg noted that construction activity in the residential sector during 2018 was actually higher than these numbers might indicate, because work continued on some of the larger multi-family residential projects for which building permits were issued in 2017.
“There were some good housing developments going on in the south side and still some units getting built in the northeast area,” he said.
He was a bit surprised that there was not more residential construction activity in 2018, but in that regard he felt positive about the activity at the Cypress Point residential community at the Elmwood golf course.
“It’s nice to see that we’ve now sold 20 lots in Cypress Point residential neighbourhood and five new permits were issued,” he said. “So that’s pretty good. We’ve also talked with various landowners and bare land developers who are still looking at developing in the Heights area or the northwest by Highlands and the area across from the Catholic Church and we’ve seen more private development of homes across from The Meadows long-term care facility. So we’re still positioned well for further residential development, without a doubt, and I do believe we’re going to have a couple maybe smaller multi-family projects this year.”
His optimism for more residential construction in 2019 also extends to the potential start of activity at one of the old school sites, which have been earmarked for infill development.
“We’re trying to make sure that we have a variety of residential lots to choose from,” he said. “We’ll see the engineering design and work being done for the Oman school residential development this year. I guess if all goes extremely well there may be lots available at the end of the year, if not the early 2020.”
There are also private developments going on, which is an indication that residential building activity in the city will continue this year and also thereafter.
“Bare land lots will get developed this year, but if nothing else they’ll keep with the planning stages so that at some point in time we’ll continue to see the developments on the perimeter of the city take place,” he said.
The higher value of non-residential building permits in 2018 was due to an increase in construction activity in the commercial and institutional categories. The $11.1 million value of nonresidential building permits break down into $6.7 million in commercial, $1.6 million in industrial, and $2.8 million in institutional building permits. In 2017 those numbers were $3.6 million in commercial, $2.75 million in industrial and $590,000 in institutional building permits. According to Salberg the main reason for the increased value of institutional building permits is the construction project at the East Side Church of God. The overall 58 per cent increase in nonresidential building permits was due to a mix of construction projects in the city.
“We saw a new restaurant up by Canadian Tire and we saw a really nice medical centre,” he said. “We’ve seen a couple of new shops being built on the industrial side.”
Salberg is positive that the increased construction activity in the nonresidential sector will continue in 2019.
“We’ve got some really positive discussions happening with a number of businesses that are looking to develop their properties that have been sitting vacant for a few years,” he said. “We actually have the starts of some development permits that we’ll be pretty pleased to see. Some pretty significant projects this year on the commercial side. I’m more than happy with the conversations and dialogue I’ve had with the business community and a cache of businesses from outside of Swift Current looking at Swift Current.”
He is expecting to see some new businesses in the service sector during 2019 and that some industrial shops will be constructed during the year.
“On the industrial side we’re happy to see some of the industrial lots that sat vacant for a number of years are starting to get developed,” he said. “There’s not that many of them, but they’re getting developed. Munro Industrial Park expansion is taking a little bit longer due to some easements and the legal titles and setup and all those things, but we’re going to have our industrial park ready to go real shortly. So we’re positioned well for the industrial side.”
Commercial lots are available for development in the area north of the casino and the Home Inn and Suites.
“That whole area is a real good area to develop and I think we might see some new commercial developments in that area,” he said. “That’s all privately owned. So I think we’re sitting pretty good in terms of availability of land.”
The City continues to look at new ways to market the business potential of Swift Current and they have a new economic development website. Salberg attended renewable energy conferences and oil and gas shows with Mayor Denis Perrault to talk to businesses about Swift Current as an business friendly investment destination.
“We’re marketing our city better and better,” Salberg said.“We’ve even had delegates from Vietnam and Korea meeting with us to see if there are investment opportunities, as they look at the immigration program to come to Saskatchewan and particularly Swift Current. So when you add all that up, the atmosphere is fairly confident from what I can tell and I really believe that's going to translate into increased construction activity this year.”
think we did pretty good last year. e had no real big projects, but on the commercial end we actually saw a 58 per cent increase in commercial/industrial permits. So on the business side I was pretty pleased. and that was probably 150 or so new business licenses issued. So 2018 as it turned out was quite positive. Marty Salberg, Director of Community Development, City of Swift Current