Multi-million dollar projects like this new acid plant at Teck Trail Operations greatly impact the overall total construction values in the region.

Kootenay Boundary: Permits up, construction values down

Construction values were down by $20 million in the region last year even though the number of building permits increased by 55.

Total construction values were down by $20 million throughout the region last year even though the number of building permits increased to 482, which is up 55 since 2015.

Most of that increase, 42, was in Trail. Notably the city’s permit total in 2016 was 179 compared to 137 the year previous but that didn’t translate into total construction value. According to the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) year end building statistics report, Trail’s overall value increase sat at just over $12 million last year, compared to $33 million in 2015.

That number, of course, ties into the overall regional statistic. Without any major industrial developments underway last year, Mark Andison, RDKB’s general manager of operations, reports that total construction values from Ross Spur to Big White sat at $38.7 million in 2016 compared to $57.6 million the previous year.

“There was a 12.9 per cent increase in the number of building permits issued in 2016 as compared to 2015,” Andison clarified. “The value of construction in 2016 was lower though than the value of construction in 2015, largely due to some large high value commercial and industrial projects for which permits were issued in 2015, (for example) the new Teck smelter recycling building in Trail and the new Black Forest Day Lodge at Big White.”

Those construction gains will turn around this year if a Trail project proceeds as planned.

“It is anticipated that the value of permits to be issued in 2017 will increase significantly again with Teck’s proposed No. 2 Acid Plant, a $174 million facility,” Andison added. “Building permit fee revenues from such projects flow directly to the City of Trail.”

The regional department provides building inspection services to all five electoral areas and on a contract basis, to six municipalities.

Two RDKB building inspectors are based in Grand Forks, and three in the Trail office.

While the 2016 number appears dramatic, locally there’s more to the service than dollar signs.

“It’s difficult to compare the year-to-year overall building value for Trail,” says Michelle McIsaac, the city’s corporate administrator. “As the building value is heavily influenced by projects at Teck and the construction undertaken there in any given year.”


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