With one month left to go, the City of Estevan has set a new record for building permits in a year.
At the Dec. 13 regular meeting of city council, it was announced that through November, the City had issued 160 building permits with a value of $49.85 million. That figure easily surpasses the previous record of over $45 million that was just set in 2009.
City manager Jim Puffalt said breaking the record for the second straight year is an exciting event and puts Estevan over the $200 million mark for the past four years.
"As we all say, it's been busy here and just continues on that pace," said Puffalt. "Sector-wide everything is happening and it's great. It's good to have land available and to get it developed right away, what more could you ask for?"
As has been the case for much of the year, November's building permit totals were spread throughout all different sectors. Of the 16 $5.7 million of permits issued in November, $2.47 million went to the industrial sector. There were three single-family home permits issued with a total value of $1.09 million and one multi-family permit was issued with a value of $1.75 million.
The yearly totals are equally impressive. There have been 38 single-family home permits issued with a value of $9.8 million and nine multi-family permits worth $9.41 million.
The activity on the commercial and industrial side was equally brisk. For the year, there have been 24 commercial permits totaling $11.56 million. There were also 15 industrial permits which had a combined value of $4.8 million.
The only sector which saw a significant decline was institutional permits. Still, it was a big year on that front with two permits issued worth $12.95 miilion, the bulk of which was the permit for the Saskatchewan Energy Training Institue.
With the southeast corner of the province expected to remain very busy in 2011, Puffalt said he is expecting another big year for the city.
A private developer is currently eyeing Estevan for a much-needed development north of Wellock Road. Puffalt said the City and developer are still working on an agreement but he is hopeful the development will proceed.
"We have been in the land development business by default because nobody else would do it. We certainly welcome investment in the city from other groups and want to work with them to make sure there is a variety of (housing) choices in Estevan," said Puffalt.
"We have had some very good discussion with them and we expect some paper work to be coming along quickly. There is still lots of work to do yet, we have to get a good development servicing agreement together and make sure it is good for everybody. We understand that developers have to make money and we have to work with them so that lots are available for everybody."
Puffalt said the developer's decision will have a huge bearing on the City's plans for 2011. Should the development move forward, the City won't need to develop as many new lots with 25 new ones expected to be ready by the spring. They will instead shift their focus to a modular home development on the south end of Estevan which would offer more affordable lots to the public.
Puffalt said that development would be comprised of modular homes on smaller sized lots which would have a lower price than lots they are currently working on.
"The City owns the property directly north of the Estevan Archery Club; it would be there," said Puffalt. "We are looking at modular homes rather than mobile homes. Modular homes are the ones that you basically assemble on site. The possibility there is to purchase some from the United States, as long as they are CSA approved, and generally it seems those can be brought in at a reduced price from a stick built house. I think it would appeal to a wide range of people from people starting out and wanting to own something less expensive, we're hoping, right to families that maybe don't want anymore than that.
"It will give people some options. Not everyone can afford a $250,000 house and it's important to get something to a price range they can afford."
Puffalt added the City is also expecting a busy year on the commercial and industrial fronts with lots still available in the Glen Peterson Industrial Park.