The decline in building permits being issued by the City of Nelson is “cause for concern,” says Mayor John Dooley.
Building permit statistics for the month of March presented during last week’s council meeting showed the estimated value of the permits issued is down by over $2 million compared to the same time last year.
“Building permits are very important to the city,” said Dooley.
“Growth is a good thing. We need to have growth to sustain our business community, to bring new people in to support the facilities we have, and bring up their children here, and we need growth to keep people employed.”
So far this year the city has issued a total of 15 permits compared to the 37 last year.
“As far as the economy goes, less building materials are being purchased, there is less value of the building permits to the municipality, when the projects are finished it means less additional taxes to the municipality,” said Dooley.
“It has an impact in the short term around the employment piece and the value of sales through the building supply stores. In the long term it can have an impact on us as far as our tax revenues are concerned.”
Dooley said while the numbers are not “the lowest by any means, they are down there for sure.”
“A lot of it might have to do with the long winter we had,” he said. “So it might change in the next few weeks, but it would want to come up substantially for us to see numbers even 50 per cent of what we had last year.
“A really good barometer of the economy is generally the activity in the construction sector. If you want to get a barometer in a hurry, you just call the ready mix plant and if they’re busy things are good and if they’re slow we could be looking at a lean year for construction.”
According to the building permit statistics for March there was one permit issued for the construction of a new multi-residential project, one for additions or renovations on a commercial unit and one for “signs and other.”