Development in CBS on the rebound following pandemic, says Hillier

By Mark Squibb/September 16, 2021

Planning and Development staff with the Town of Conception Bay South have recently crunched some numbers to gauge to where the town stands in terms of development applications as compared to recent years, and councilor Rex Hillier says the news is good.

“It confirmed what we expected: we are having a very good year so far,” said Hillier, who presented some of the data up at council’s September 7 meeting.

The first category Hillier raised was applications for permits for decks, fences, home repairs and the like. June and July of 2020 were record setting months for the value of applications for these permits, said Hillier, who noted data collected in 2017 and 2018 was incomplete.

“The spike in activity was likely driven by a provincial emergence from the first pandemic lock down, the town’s wavier of permit fees, and the province’s home improvement rebate program,” said Hillier. He added that excluding the year 2020, the year-to-date activity in 2021 is approximately 45 percent higher than the best of the past four years.

The value of construction as reported by Stats Canada by month from 2017 to 2021 for new construction and extensions to existing building has also increased, said Hillier.,

“We’ve already had around 20 percent more value in new home and commercial building construction than we did for the entire years in 2019 and 2020,” he said. “We’re on pace to surpass total value of construction in 2018. We’ve left out 2017, because it had two anomalies; the construction of Admiral’s Academy, and Heritage Square, which were collectively valued at $32.5 million. So, we’re looking at, right now, a 20 percent more value in new home and commercial building construction in 2021 than we did in 2019 and 2020. Commercial application activity has surpassed year-to-date activity of the previous four years. As of July 31, of this year, the town has received more commercial applications than for the entire years of 2018 and 2019.”

The housing market hit a low point in 2019, said Hillier, but has since rebounded.

“As of the end of August this year, we have had as many housing starts as all of 2020,” he said.

“Obviously this is positive news, difficult to put into dollars and cents. But an estimate would be approximately a quarter of a million dollars in tax revenue associated with this activity. So, it’s all good news, and it’s nice to be moving forward.”

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