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Weyburn sets record for construction activity

The City of Weyburn experienced a fair amount of growth in 2010 which should continue on into the new year, as the city set a new record for construction activity in 2010, and the population has jumped by 14.

The City of Weyburn experienced a fair amount of growth in 2010 which should continue on into the new year, as the city set a new record for construction activity in 2010, and the population has jumped by 14.5 per cent from last year to just over 11,700.

As of the end of December of 2010, the city issued 178 building permits worth $41.4 million, which broke the previous record set in 2008, Weyburn's "boom" year. The dollar value was about $400,000 ahead of 2008's level, said Doug Mulhall, Community Services manager for the City of Weyburn.

In terms of new homes or "dwelling units", there were 44 new single family homes created or started, and 65 multiple-family dwelling units, for a total of 109 new dwelling units created in 2010.

The city also had a strong year for lot sales, almost at the same level as the record-setting 2008 level. There were six lots sold in December to bring the year-end net sales to 68, two short of 2008's record of 70 lots.

This left the city with six R1 lots, and five R2 lots - and Mulhall noted that in the first half of January, the five R2 lots were sold, leaving now just the six R1 lots.

The city intends to build and open up 77 more residential lots this year, he added.

Over the course of the last five years, the city has issued permits for over 400 new dwellings in Weyburn, which if filled with families would alone add around 1,200 new residents to the city, said Mulhall, which may partially explain the population growth as reported by Sun Country Health Region for the health coverage they provide residents.

"I do believe it's going to keep on going, with the activities that are going on around us. The oilpatch is certainly going to be a busy spot," said Mulhall, noting the indications from the land sales for the right to drill and explore show the activities are starting to spread west of Weyburn now.

"We look forward to trying to stay ahead of all that stuff," said Mulhall.

Commenting in her annual "State of our City" address at the Jan. 10 council meeting, Mayor Debra Button said, "It is no surprise to us that 2010 was another banner year for the City of Weyburn, with the increase in oil activity, good moisture in the agricultural land and good grain prices, we saw a significant increase in both our residential and commercial industrial sectors."

Referring to numerous commercial developments over the year, she noted there were some 24 business expansions and some new commercial facilities being built, "not to mention the significant increase in commercial development right next to our borders in the RM of Weyburn. So yes, if building stats are an indication of growth, then we experienced another year of significant growth in the City of Weyburn."

The good feelings generated by the level of new construction is backed up by the population numbers issued by Sun Country of the 2010 covered population.

According to these figures, there are 11,782 people in Weyburn, which is up by 14.5 per cent from last year when the total was 10,288. This year-over-year increase compares to Estevan, which saw their population go up by 13.9 per cent. The official Statistics Canada census is due to be taken this spring, which will confirm the population figures in an official capacity.

Broken down by age and gender, the increase is seen in every single age category. The city currently has 5,724 males, and 6,058 females.

The Sun Country figures also show some area towns and municipalities also grew, but some declined in population.

For example, while the RM of Tecumseh increased from 263 to 272, the Town of Stoughton decreased from 687 to 672, even though the town is in the midst of the Bakken resource play. Similarly, the RM of Griffin reported a decrease from 339 to 237.

Torquay increased from 244 to 267, Tribune went up from 25 to 32, the RM of Lake Alma increased from 225 to 237, but the nearby RM of Souris Valley decreased from 259 to 248. The RM of Brokenshell showed a decrease from 277 to 168.