Building Permits

Did You Know? . . . The Town issued fewer building and development permits in 2006 than in 2005, but the value was higher: almost $25 million issued resulting in close to $10 million in activity.

Building permit statistics spark debate in council

Although the Town of Athabasca issued fewer building and development permits in 2006 than in 2005, the total dollar value was higher.

However, while reviewing and discussing summary reports of the 2005 and 2006 permits at the regular council meeting on Jan. 16, Councilor Lionel Cherniwchan expressed the concern that dollar figures as presented in the reports were deceiving.

The summary of building, gas, electrical and plumbing permits revealed a decrease from 235 in 2005 to 208 in 2006. Development permits dropped from 85 in 2005 to 78 permits issued in 2006. The reported dollar value of development permits issued in 2005 was $7,378,550 compared to $24,941,492.93 in 2006.

Councillor Cherniwchan pointed out that the 2006 figure is deceptive because some projects that were issued permits did not follow through. One case in point being a proposed $15,000,000 project that received a permit but did not come to pass, reducing the total dollar value of development permits issued in 2006 to just under $10 million.

“It gives me a false sense when it’s reported like that,” said Councillor Cherniwchan, asking that a better way be found to report the statistics.

Mayor Richard Verhaeghe suggested that one idea might be to prepare a report showing both permits issued and projects actually completed plus the corresponding dollar amounts.

Chief administrative officer Doug Topinka noted that one challenge to the accuracy of such reports is the fact that not all projects are completed in the year the permits are issued. “Some projects roll over the year end,” he advised.

Before discussion closed on this agenda item, Councillor Mike Gismondi gave the statistics a positive interpretation.

“When we take the 15 (million dollars) off the 24 (million dollars), we still show about $9.9 million in activity,” he said.

Summary of Building Permits 2006
Summary of Development Permits 2006

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