Building permits surpass $6 million

Devon Culbert of A&J Carpentry Ltd. installs roof rafters Oct. 1 at a four-unit condominium building currently under construction on Gibson Crescent. The project is one of many ongoing throughout Meadow Lake.

Devon Culbert of A&J Carpentry Ltd. installs roof rafters Oct. 1 at a four-unit condominium building currently under construction on Gibson Crescent. The project is one of many ongoing throughout Meadow Lake.

by Phil Ambroziak

Meadow Lake continues down a strong and steady path of growth and development.

That’s the message that accompanied a recent report filed with city council by building official Neil Marsh. According to Marsh, the city has already collected $6,239,700 in building permit fees this year, only slightly behind the $6.6 million for all of 2013.

“We’re certainly on a steady trend right now in terms of new properties going up,” Marsh said. “It’s encouraging to see people are willing to invest in our community by building new buildings or renovating old ones.”

Marsh went on to note the majority of permit fees issued this year have been for renovation projects, but added an area of particular growth in 2014 has been the Gibson Crescent neighbourhood. That’s where Al MacFarlane of Meadow Lake Properties is currently in the process of developing three four-plex condominiums, a project Marsh believes holds tremendous merit for the neighbourhood.

“There’s also a house being built next to the condos on Gibson that will feature a new form of construction – structural insulated panels,” Marsh continued. “Usually, the walls of a home are framed onsite using traditional methods. In this particular case, the walls are built at a factory, arrive in sections and are Styrofoam insulated with steel structural elements. It’s a different way of insulating the home.”

Mayor Gary Vidal also shared his optimism about the city’s continued growth, stating several lots in the Gibson Crescent subdivision have already sold.

“It’s a good sign of things to come,” Vidal said. “This sort of steady growth we’ve been experiencing is also good because I believe it makes things much easier to manage from a municipal standpoint than if things suddenly started to grow wildly.”

Both the mayor and Marsh also pointed out it’s not just the newer parts of the city that are witnessing this sort of development.

“There are a few houses that have been built or which are starting to be built in town – people are filling in lots here and there in some of the older sections of the city,” Marsh said. “There’s also the Head Start on a Home project on Fournier Drive.”

Vidal said these in-fill projects are important because they improve some of the “mature” neighbourhoods and make use of existing infrastructure.

Among those to purchase building permits this year is former Loon Lake resident Roy Chenoweth. For the last four months, Chenoweth has been building duplexes at both 208 and 210 3rd St. West. While he and his wife plan to move into one of the units, the other three will be available to rent.

“Something like this definitely improves the neighbourhood and will bring property values up.”

Although the total amount in building permits for the last two years are lower than the $9.3 million collected in 2012, Marsh said this could have to do with a shortage of major commercial projects. The recent numbers are still much higher than the $2.4 million collected in 2011. Meanwhile, the $13 million total from 2010, Marsh said, owes a lot to the construction of the college housing units while a major chunk of the much larger $23 million in 2009 is attributed to the development of the Meadow Lake courthouse.

Of this year’s current total, Marsh said it’s been mainly for residential purposes with the exception of $1.5 million for commercial properties.

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