Town staff has been busy accepting development applications this year, not only for new housing starts but also for commercial development.
Betty Jurykoski, planning and development officer for the Town of Ponoka, said the $10 million in building and development totals, as of June, is most likely from Servus Equipment expanding to a new location and Gemini Corporation also growing. In 2013 building and development permits totaled $18.6 million for the year.
“The big situations this year are probably the expansions in commercial development,” explained Jurykoski.
She feels the Servus expansion is a positive development for the town. “We’ve been able to retain and help that business expand.”
With Servus moving to its new location, Jurykoski feels there is an opportunity for either a new company to move into their old property or an existing outfit to expand there.
New housing is starting to see higher growth over last year. As of June there are $4 million in new housing starts compared to $3 million for all of 2013. May and June alone had 14 new developments compared to a total of 16 in 2013.
Jurykoski suggests that in the last few years the housing market saw a lull after the most recent market crash. These increases show positive signs for the future.
“It’s slow and steady on the rise…We have never lost population,” she explained.
At the time of the interview, Jurykoski said she had four new residential development applications to consider. “From a residential standpoint we’re in good shape.”
In order to plan for the future Jurykoski is updating area structure plans for different areas to be ready for future development. She says many groups are eager to see projects that are shovel ready and an area structure plan will help move things along.
“I talked to a developer this morning. He’s looking for something to do,” she stated.
As of June, residential development was at $4.7 million and commercial at $5.5 million. Industrial was at $5,000 and institutions and schools was at $10,000. Total residential development in 2013 was $4.1 million, $1.4 million in commercial, $800,000 for industrial and $12.3 million for institutions and schools.
Jurykoski has also seen developments in residential areas grow; the Laebon Subdivision and Chicken Hill Developments have been busy, said Jurykoski.
There have been a total of 21 new housing starts in Ponoka so far.