The number of building permits in the Regional District of Nanaimo’s seven electoral areas showed a slight increase but construction value has gone down during the first six months of 2019.
The RDN processed 453 building permit applications in the first half of the year, a small increase over the same period in 2018, when there were 440 applications.
The construction value of the permits during this period is $57 million, a 32 per cent decrease over 2018. Manager of building and bylaw services, Tom Armet, indicated in his report to the Electoral Area Services Committee on July 9 that the value fluctuates depending on the type and scope of the projects.
In non-residential building permits, the RDN issued 25 permits valued at $6.8 million, compared to 15 permits valued at $2.7 million in 2018, and 24 permits valued at $7.3 million in the same period in 2017.
In the District 69 region, Electoral Area E (Nanoose Bay) and Electoral Area F (Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, Meadowood) experienced a slight increase. Nanoose Bay had 71 permits issued in the first six months of 2019, compared to 67 in 2018 and 76 in 2017. Electoral Area F had 55 permits issued up from 48 in 2018.
Electoral Area G (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum) and Electoral Area H both suffered a slight decrease with the former having 44 permits issued in the first half of this year, which is nine less than in 2018, and the latter receiving 39 permit applications, which is down by six from last year.
The average wait time for permit approvals is approximately eight-to-nine weeks and inspection scheduling is between two and five days. In the first two quarters of 2019, the RDN processed 453 permit applications and conducted nearly 3,200 field inspections. Approval times vary depending on project complexity, application volumes, and completeness of applications.
The availabilty of staff is also a factor. There is a province-wide shortage and at present the RDN has been struggling to fill two vacant building inspector positions.
Armet said that the RDN continues to work on improving permit processing times to minimize the impact to applicants. The RDN has completed a public portal for online building permit applications and inspection scheduling, which Armet said will enhance the overall efficiency of the process as the public can do the applications at home, office or mobile device. It will be in place by December this year.