West Kelowna Home Growth Up 48%
West Kelowna’s Development Services Department had another busy year, administering building permits with a record construction value of over $131 million in 2017.
All together, 2017 permits approved 490 dwelling units in the community including, homes multi-family units, carriage houses and secondary suites. This is up 48% from 331 dwelling units added in 2016. More residents were renovating as well with 209 applications in 2017, up from 188 in 2016. City building inspectors conducted a total of 3,684 inspections in 2017, approximately 750 more than in 2016.
Despite processing a record value of development and building permits, staff were able to decrease processing times from an average of eight weeks in 2016 to an average of three weeks in 2017. Council approved two and half new building department staff in 2017 and the additional staff and process improvements ensured wait times decreased.
“Staff are working tirelessly to find processing efficiencies,” says Nancy Henderson, General Manager of Development Services. “We have made numerous improvements to our department service levels despite another year of record breaking development activity in West Kelowna.”
The City is seeing a trend in the number of multi-family developments with projects like the City’s first purpose-built rental development by Highstreet Ventures on Carrington Road.
“It’s exciting to see an increase in multi-family developments in the community as we know it’s important to West Kelowna residents to have a variety of housing options available and multi-family development provides efficient use of land,” says Nancy Henderson, General Manager of Development Services. “It’s particularly nice to see purpose-built rental housing in Westbank Centre. We hope that increased residents in the area will help existing businesses and encourage new development which will attract new entrepreneurs and businesses.”
Westbank Centre is an area the City has a keen interest in seeing revitalized with Council even approving a Development Cost Charge reduction to help encourage development.
The City expects that the pace of growth in 2018 will continue as it has for the past two years given the volume of development applications that are continuing to come through the door.
“We have several multi-family projects on the horizon. We have also seen a significant increase in commercial additions and alterations and are currently processing permits for two new substantial industrial developments,” says Henderson. “These new buildings are examples of both the expansion of an existing long-term West Kelowna business and a new business moving to West Kelowna.”
Henderson believes the City of West Kelowna is ready for another busy year of development.
“We are prepared for it. We pride ourselves in being customer-service oriented and have put in a place a variety of elements to help applicants get through the process in a timely manner. Council approving increased staff levels in their budget deliberations today will assist the City in meeting our service level goals,” says Henderson. “Applicants and the City have a mutual interest in getting approved projects underway as soon as possible and we will do our utmost to make that happen.”
As part of its development process improvements, the City recently launched its Cityview public portal at www.westkelownacity.ca/cityview