Red Deer’s Permits and Licensing Department has seen a sharp jump in building permit activity to start 2012.
The city issued 117 permits for a combined $17.6 million worth of work in February — up from 68 permits valued at $11.1 million for the same month in 2011. So far this year, Red Deer has approved 206 permits with a cumulative value of $36.7 million, as compared with 146 permits worth $22.1 million in the first two months of 2011.
Of last month’s permit value total, $11.1 million was for residential projects, up from $3.1 million in February 2011.
Commercial work added $6 million, down from $7.3 million the previous year; industrial projects accounted for $461,000 in permits, down from $742,000; and permits related to public projects contributed $46,000, versus no permits in this category last February.
Among the big permits issued last month was one valued at $3.1 million for the new seniors multi-family building being developed by the Piper Creek Foundation at 4707 34th St., another worth $800,000 for a combined KFC/Taco Bell restaurant being built by Peacock Inn Ltd. at 6889 50th Ave., and one valued at $1.2 million for multi-bay commercial building being developed by Anders East Developments Ltd. at the new Clearview Market Square commercial centre west of 30th Avenue and south of 67th Street.
For the first two months of 2012, residential permits in Red Deer have totalled $20.3 million, up from $8.5 million in January and February 2011; the commercial tally was $11.9 million, down from $12.6 million; industrial projects made up $4.3 million, as compared with $918,000; and the public total stood at $237,000, up from $45,000.
The city’s residential permit tally for 2012 contrasts with actual housing starts, tracked by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. On Thursday, CMHC reported that work had begun on only 30 homes in Red Deer during January and February, half of the total for the same months in 2011.
Building permits are usually indicative of builders’ construction plans for the future, however, and not necessarily building activity in the month that they are issued.