In Nanaimo, you don’t have to go far to find a construction site.
City officials say a record-breaking year in terms of allotted building permits may be on the horizon, with over 1,000 issued for new residential dwellings by the end of last month.
Between Jan. 1 and June 30, the city issued permits for 1,085 residential units, including 916 multi-family units — a record for that housing type at the six-month mark, according to the city in a news release.
“This is a banner year for the City of Nanaimo,” Mayor Leonard Krog told CHEK News.
“The fast pace of residential development clearly shows private sector confidence in our city,” he said. “The form of development — primarily multi-family housing — shows that Nanaimo is evolving into a complex, urban centre.”
In the first six months of 2022, building permit values across town totalled $319 million, which means by year-end, values could surpass the 2019 record of $455 million, the release states.
“What it means is there will be housing available. New, some of it expensive, obviously,” explained Krog.
“But there will be housing, and it’s desperately needed. People are moving here, there’s demand for it. Developers and the construction industry have responded.”
But it’s noted that public investment projects, like the provincially funded $167-million correctional centre redevelopment, are also included in the permit total.
Still, the city says most permits are for residential buildings with multi-family units “outstripping” single-family home construction.
“I am very pleased that most of the new housing is in multi-unit buildings, providing more housing options for families,” added Krog.
“This kind of growth supports the goals and values we committed to in City Plan: Nanaimo ReImagined, which is already guiding our community as it grows.”
According to the city, multi-family units help meet affordable housing targets.
Pointing to its Affordable Housing Strategy, which aims for 70 per cent of new housing to be multi-units, the city notes that multi-unit dwellings made up 76 per cent of residential permits in 2021 — with results for this year expected to be even higher.