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April building permits dip to lowest number since 2016

The number of building permits issued by the City of Grande Prairie dropped 58 per cent year-over-year for April 2020. That’s the lowest for the month since 2016.

The 38 permits, worth almost $2 million, largely came from commercial alterations and single detached homes. Manager of Economic Developer Rebecca Leigh says it’s not all that out of the ordinary for numbers to fluctuate.

“Building and construction activity is influenced by so many different factors it’s difficult to predict where or when we will see the biggest impact. In terms of the sheer volume, or the number of permits that are issued each month, it’s not uncommon to see a variance of 70 or 80 per cent from a month in one year to the month in the previous year.s.

Leigh says because corporate decisions on large-scale projects are influenced by a number of influences, it makes it challenging to pinpoint precisely the cause of the downturn in construction.

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“We benefit from a fairly diversified economy, so we are fortunate in that position, but we are still pretty susceptible to the ups and downs of the oil and gas and energy market”

“It is really difficult to sort out whether the changes in construction activity are due to COVID and worksite restrictions, or to global economic pressures, or due to other decisions being made at corporate levels,” she adds.

Housing starts in the city were also down in April, as the 18 starts represent a drop of 67 percent year over year from April 2019s 55 total starts.

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