Development in the South Peace

Building in Smoky River region drops by one-half

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Building activity and development in the M.D. of Smoky River fell by large numbers in 2020 from 2019.

Smoky River issued 10 permits in 2020 for a total value of $2,168,000, according to figures from municipal intern Mitchell Visser.

That’s down significantly from 2019 when Smoky River issued 22 development permits for a total of $7,404,883.

“There was a reduction in development permits by about 50 per cent from our yearly average,” Visser says.

He and the M.D. are not sure if that can solely be attributed to financial challenges caused by the coronavirus [COVID-19] pandemic.

“Whether this is a result of COVID-19, the economic downturn of oil and gas or some other factor is hard to determine,” Visser says.

“It is a difficult time economically for many people in the region and it is very likely that this has resulted in a decrease in development,” he adds.

The majority of development for 2020 was for agricultural valued at $1,292,000 and residential at $876,000.

Big Lakes County also sees decrease in development

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Building activity and development in Big Lakes County dropped sharply in 2020 from 2019.

Big Lakes issued 141 development permits in 2020 for a total value of $7,634,741, says Pat Olansky, director of planning and development.

That’s down from $49,507,775 in 2019 for 117 permits.

“Overall, in 2020 the county received more development permit applications than in 2019 but the dollar value of development was considerably lower,” Olansky says.

“More development permit applications were received in 2020 for smaller projects with a lower construction value than the previous year.”

Economic struggles in the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may have impacted the decline in development.

“Commercial and industrial development in 2020 took a huge hit,” Olansky says.

“We can only speculate whether this was due to the pandemic, Alberta’s economic situation or a combination of both.”

Small residential projects increased substantially.

Olansky suggests that some of the COVID restrictions encouraged residents being at home to complete projects that they did not have the time to do previously.

She points out several key figures in development activity.

-The industrial development permit construction value decreased by a staggering 99.82 per cent from 2019.

-The commercial development construction value decreased by 87.2 per cent.

-Residential development decreased by .26 per cent.

The county does not record

agricultural development because the vast majority of it does not require a development permit from the county, Olansky says.

-Oil and gas development is under the industrial category.

In 2020, the county received 141 permits for accessory structures such as decks, sheds, fences, and RV storage sites, an increase of 152 per cent increase from 2019 when the county received 56.

Residential permits valued at $7,279,100 for 25 single-family dwellings, 142 accessory structures and uses and nine recreational cabins.

The county issued five permits for commercial building for a combined $175,000.

Three permits for industrial valued $70,000 and permit for agriculture was valued at $25,000.

Olansky notes that some development permit applications include more than one development in the application.

For example, a house, detached garage, and shed require three different permits.

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