Mixed growth picture for 2015 as town flags, county shines

It came as no surprise to Town of Stettler council that permit numbers were down for 2015 given the economic climate...

It came as no surprise to Town of Stettler council that permit numbers were down for 2015 given the economic climate, councillors said at one of the last meetings of 2015, but the numbers now available show permit value estimations are down nearly $5 million.

It was a completely different story in the County of Stettler, which saw both the number of permits issued as well as estimated value increase, to the tune of just more than $4 million.

The value assigned to permits is not in the cost of acquiring the permit, but rather the estimated value of the development for which the permit is issued.

In the town, $3,162,080 worth of residential permits were issued in 2015, down from 2014’s $3,617,482 and institutional (hospitals, town facilities, schools, etc.) came in at $361,810 compared to last year’s $486,200.

Commercial and industrial permits took major wallops. With only $3,647,806 in commercial permits this year, the town came in only slightly above half of last year’s $6,015,621. Industrial came in at $892,000, a shadow of last year’s $2,793,000.Total estimated value of this year’s permits came in at $8,063,696. Last year came in at $12,912,303.

In the county, total value of this year’s permits came in as 18,585,850, up from 2014’s $14,364,000.

Jacinta Donovon, development officer for the county, said it was a pleasant surprise.

“We weren’t expecting that,” she said. She noted that the numbers weren’t up because of anticipated plans for the new county office and shop, as the project hasn’t arrived at the stage where permits are being issued.

This year, the county issued 114 residential permits, up from last year’s 81. Of those permits, residential permits were estimated at a value of $15,500,850, more than last year’s permits altogether.

2015 also saw 11 commercial permits issued, down from last year’s 22. The decline in commercial permits is a sign of the economic climate, Donovon noted. She said that the county was bolstered by the building of several high-quality rural homes as owners took advantage of the competitive construction industry, which is flagging as projects are shut down, delayed or cancelled due to low oil prices.

The value of this year’s commercial permits came in at $3,572,000, up from last year’s $2,562,000. While the number of permits was down, the value of the constructions was higher as it was more about main projects than add-ons.