The number of building permits issued by the Regional District of Nanaimo in the first quarter showed an increase of 12 per cent compared with the same period last year.
RDN staff members considered the increase to be the highest volume of quarterly permits issued to date in the seven electoral areas. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, staff expects it to have an impact on construction activity across the region.
A total of 203 building permits totalled $38.4 million in construction value. They were mostly residential construction. Only 11 non-residential permits issued valued at $490,000, including two permits in the District of Lantzville with a construction value of $125,000.
Electoral Area A (Cassidy, Cedar, Yellowpoint, South Wellington) and G (French Creek, Dashwood, Englishman River) had higher than normal construction activity. Area A went up to 37 in the first quarter this year, from 19 in the same period last year, while Area G spiked to 34 from 20 in 2019.
The RDN’s public portal for building applications went live on March 23, just as the adminstration office had to temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since it was launched, a total of 50 online permit applications were received.
The public portal is designed to give the public the option to “self-serve” their building permit application and inspection requests from their home, office or mobile device. It eliminated the need for clients to travel to the RDN office or schedule their inspections by telephone. It enhanced the overall efficiency of the permit/inspection process for the public and staff alike.
The RDN will continue to promote the benefits of online permit applications. Hard copy applications are still accepted and are processed electronically via the public portal.
Despite the adminstration being closed at this time, RDN staff said the building inspection service remains fully operational to process permit applications, maintain inspection levels and provide advice and service to the public via website updates, telephone communications and video conferencing where necessary.