Housing starts signal rebound

  • Feb. 2, 2011 3:00 p.m.

By CHARLES TWEED

A quick look at the year-end report for housing starts in Ponoka might suggest the area has rebounded slightly from the recession felt in 2009.

In 2010 a total of 23 new housing starts were issued building permits — up 12 from the previous year’s mark of 11.

“I would think the recession that hit last year had a big impact on why things are up this year. We also saw a few people retire from the farming community, so they were selling the farm and moving to town,” said Betty Quinlan, Ponoka’s director of corporate services.

The 23 permits issued — which comprised single family, condominiums, apartments, duplexes, four- and six-plexes — had an average value of just over $203,000. A sharp increase compared to 2009 when the average permit issued was for 117,000.

Building permits were also issued for repairs and renovations totalling just under $130,000. Quinlan believes that number is up due to the moisture the area received during the summer.

“In some cases homeowners had restoration work to do due to the extra water. We issued permits to fix weeping tile and to restore several basements that were hit with flooding.”

In total — including residential, industrial, commercial, and institutional — the town issued just over $13 million in permits. The number was buoyed primarily by school renovations and the arena expansion. The Ponoka Composite High School project, with renovations and demolition, totaled about $5.75 million while the arena expansion ate up another $1.7 million.

The notion that permits had risen compared to last year could only be viewed as a positive, as Alberta continues to combat the recession.

“I think it’s encouraging that people within the community are investing back in the town they live in,” said Quinlan.