Revelstoke 2018 development season expected to be busier than 2017

Development in Revelstoke for 2017 wasn't without its challenges but total construction valuation figures surpass previous years, with 2017 figures more than double that of 2015.

File photo: The McKinnon building underwent a full interior makeover in 2016. It was previously home to the Nickelodeon Museum. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

Revelstoke is continuing its upward trend in construction with no sign of slowing down. The city’s Development Services department has released their 2017 activity report, which shows total construction valuation for 2017 at 57 per cent over 2016 and 102 per cent over 2015.

Overall 2017 was a challenge for the department. Last year they were plagued with a bottleneck of building permits and many planning applications submitted in 2017 still remain in the queue.

In his report to the city, department head Nigel Whitehead states that they aim to complete these applications by the first quarter of 2018, depending on staff capacity and applicants meeting the required needs.

Image: City of Revelstoke

Director Whitehead was brought on at the start of 2017 after previous development services manager Dean Strachan resigned in December 2016.

“Staff have struggled through 2017 with a lack of formal departmental procedures, and outdated, ineffective procedures where they do exist,” Whitehead’s report states. “Previous staff did not update documented procedures, leaving their positions along with their institutional knowledge required to efficiently complete applications.”

For 2018 the department aims to increase customer service by creating a brochure that outlines minimum submission standards and increasing processing capacity through efficiency. They will also aggressively pursue updating and improving departmental procedures.

The activity report shows planning applications continue to trend upwards, with an exception of an anomaly in the number of 2016 rezoning applications due to council’s implementation of vacation rental zones.

This year is expected to be just as, if not more, busy than 2017. Many of those involved in the construction business report large workloads.

“Development interest in Revelstoke is also keeping our local design professionals in the private sector busy, impacting their turn-around times for applicants,” Whitehead states.

Whitehead also cautious that the current increase in development activity is likely to be because of global economic cycles that are currently driving both the tourism and real estate markets in BC and Canada.

“This presents an element of risk to departmental planning, with a need to be cognizant of global macroeconomic projections,” he states.