Great news from City Hall:
Oct. 18, 2017 – A surge in new development across the city with more expected to start next year is a sure sign St. Catharines is in the midst of a building boom.
As of the end of September, the City has received nearly 200 more building permit applications this year over the same time last year, an increase of about 18 per cent. So far in 2017, the City has issued 124 more building permits – which allow developers to start their construction projects – for new construction, up by about 17 per cent over last year. The total value of new construction happening in St. Catharines right now is more than $131 million, up by about nine per cent over last year, and that’s mostly funded through private investments.
“This year has already been a good year for new construction and we still have three months to go,” says Mayor Walter Sendzik. “These trends show that St. Catharines is a place people want to live, work and invest, and the building community is responding to that demand.”
According to Jim Riddell, the City’s director of planning and building services, the bulk of construction has been residential, with 366 new residential dwelling units added to the Garden City so far in 2017. There has also been a number of retail, commercial and mixed-use developments, such as the ongoing development in the area of Fourth Avenue.
Based on the number of permits issued so far, City building inspectors will complete between 500 and 700 more initial inspections at construction sites compared to last year. St. Catharines is poised for more growth in 2018, with permit applications expected for other major projects including the redevelopment of the former hospital sites on Ontario Street and Queenston Street.
“The surge in building permits and applications is pushing the City to find ways to be more efficient and responsive to the building industry,” said Sandra Burrows, the City’s chief building official. “Reviewing and approving building permit applications efficiently supports the building community and the City is adjusting resources to meet the increased demand.”
As a short-term measure, the City is hiring contract plan review specialists to help process building permit applications. This will allow existing City building inspectors to focus on inspections so that development continues to progress as efficiently as possible. The contract plan review specialists will supplement the City’s current staff while the City recruits additional qualified staff.
“All of this new construction is growing the property tax base in St. Catharines and adding more job opportunities for residents,” said Riddell. “Both will have a lasting positive impact on our community.”