BY RYAN WELLICOME
Development activity in Lacombe continues on a stable trend, despite economic fluctuation, with multiple projects underway according to a report on building permit values for July.
According to the report, the trend is being seen across all sectors including residential, commercial and industrial with permit numbers remaining high and yearly values doubling.
“At the end of July 2016, the total value for building permits almost doubled that of 2015. A number of multi-family residential developments, as well as commercial and industrial projects, are helping to drive these increased values,” said Planning and Development Manager Lyla Peter.
Currently, the 2016 total value of building permits sits at over $48 million which, comparably, is close to double the total value of permits in 2015 which sit at just under $26.5 million.
Peter said that an increase in commercial and industrial projects has played a part in that increase.
“All of these types of projects typically have a higher cost than building a residential home. They are bigger projects and so bigger projects come with a higher value,”she said.
According to the report, new commercial and industrial projects account for approximately 27% of the total year-to-date permit values with projects like the Pentagon Farm Centre on Hwy. 12, a two-storey medical/office building on 51 Ave. and a multi-tenant office building on 50 St. all underway.
Institutional projects also make up a large portion – approximately 16% – of total permit values, according to the report.
Institutional projects such as the renovations and additions to the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex on 54 Ave. and construction of the new Lacombe Police Department station in the Wolf Creek Industrial Park are currently underway.
The number of residential development permits issued has seen a sharp increase in the month of July with almost the entirety of permits being issued for multi-family dwellings.
Fifty-four permits were issued in July; 53 of those permits were for multi-family dwellings
Multi-family dwellings would include triplexes, fourplexes, row housing, apartments and second floor suites in commercial buildings.
According to a City of Lacombe Housing Analysis report in 2013, between 2008 and 2012, 62% of building permits were for single family dwellings and 5% were for multi-family dwellings.
Peter said that this report identified a need for multi-family housing in the community and the rise in multi-family housing permits issued in July is part of an attempt to address the need and possibly create a balance in housing types.
“Through our municipal sustainability plan and our housing needs assessment, this need to start delivering a variety of different housing units was identified and emphasized,” she said.
“I think what has happened is that you can only provide one type of stock for so long and you might get an imbalance and so we are trying to find that balance again. It’s exciting because the need was identified and we are seeing it being delivered through our development community.”
A 29 unit multi-housing development at 4716 College Ave., three eight unit multi-housing developments at 4939 Beardsley Ave. and construction of row housing in the Mackenzie Ranch subdivision were all recently approved.
Peter explained that according to statistics that have been analyzed, Lacombe has typically endured stable growth.
“This strong delivery is indicative of long-term development patterns in Lacombe, which are typically quite stable and not subject to as great a variation due to economic fluctuations,” she said.
“I think that (developers) see that we don’t spike and they feel confident investing in the community.”