County building permits comparable to 2015, town down

Building permits issued by the Town of Stettler and County of Stettler are showing the impact of the decline in the province’s oil fortunes.

Building permits issued by the Town of Stettler and County of Stettler are showing the impact of the decline in the province’s oil fortunes as confirmed by the numbers for the first six months of 2016.

The first half of 2016 saw the town issue permits valued at $2,120,940, down from last year’s $6,132,085.

Residential permits, which are issued for projects around homes such as remodels and decks, came in at $656,740, a significant decline from the $2,075,775 issued last year in the same time period. Commercial permits were also down, from $3,130,400 to $668,200. Institutional permits, issued for work on buildings like schools and hospitals, saw permits at just $70,000 in total value for the first half of 2016 as compared to $175,910 for the same period in 2015. Industrial permits remained almost the same valued at $726,000, just down from $750,000.

The numbers reveal that both individuals and businesses continue to invest in existing properties, though not so much in new buildings, the town said.

Bylaws, property values influence county stats

The numbers released by the county show similar declines, though changes in property values mean the numbers aren’t as comparable as they appear at first glance.

What may create some doubts while going through the county statistics is the large difference in the value of commercial development permits issued in 2015 when compared to those in 2016. This is due to a gravel pit being attached a higher than usual value by the applicant, said Johan van der Bank, director of planning and development.

The number of commercial permits is down to five from last year’s seven, with the value decreasing from $1,210,000 to $465,655.

“There’s still three or four months to the construction season that have to be accounted for, which could affect the year-end number,” said van der Bank.

In 2015, the county enforced the land use bylaw at Buffalo Lake in relation to recreational vehicles, bringing about a decline in requested permits from 15 last year to only two so far this year.

“If that is discounted, the number of development permits in 2016 is not much lower than in 2015,” said van der Bank. “The number of dwellings is always a good indicator and as can be seen, the number of dwelling units (detached dwellings and manufactured homes) are higher in 2016 than in 2015.”

The development permits (DPs) for detached dwellings remain the same, although the value of DPs issued has gone up.

The DPs issued for manufactured homes in 2016 is more than that of 2015, while DPs issued for RVs used as a dwelling unit has drastically gone down from 15 to two.

DPs issued for other spaces, for instance garage or house addition has also gone down, from 19 to 14 this year.