By ANDREW WAREING
What started as a slow building year in North Bay picked up in a “big way” in August.
That was the assessment of North Bay’s manager of economic development Rick Evans. Residential development growth has in the past three years closely followed increases in commercial development in the city such as expansions at the Northgate Mall, says Ian Kilgour, senior planner, current operations for the City of North Bay.
“It is all related to investor confidence in the community,” says Evans. “We started with a bit of a slow year, but August came through in a big way for us.”
That “big way” is reflected in $12.5 million in building permits issued by the city in August, compared to $5 million last August. Among those include $5 million in residential additions, $6.2 million in new construction and $900,000 in renovations. Single residential construction dropped slightly in August, but there were 36 single-family units constructed by year-to-date in September.
Evans reports a small amount of industrial construction - about $500,000.
“(The industrial construction) is nice to see after the reduction of the industrial taxes,” Evans says. “We’re starting to see some movement on the industrial side which is nice. Normally, a lot of the industrial stuff happens in additions so its nice to see some new stuff.”
“There is a healthy mix of new (construction) and additions,” Evans says.
Kilgour says this summer’s announcement of the Regional Sector Air Operations Centre by Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien is a $20-million jewel in North Bay’s crown.
Canadore College is developing a new six-story, 134-bed residence at an estimated cost of $5.25 million. Also, on the institutional side is the new $211-million North Bay Regional Health Centre hospital to be located at the corner of College Drive and Highway 17.
In August, North Bay Regional Health Centre executive director Paul Landry reported the project had reached the detail design and contract documentation preparation phase, culminating in the development of the contract
including working drawings and tender requirements, with the project going to tender in early 2004.
Kilgour says there is an “upsurge in the condo interest” with applications for Waterford Estates and Paradise Suites condominium developments - the first for the city in 15 years - recently received planning approval from the city.
The Empire Living Centre, a full-service seniors housing complex on Fraser Street in North Bay, is also doubling its size.