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Penticton  

Building boom in desert?

This calendar year has seen a spike in construction, renovations and repairs for structures in Osoyoos.

Through 10 months in 2017, the value of building permits issued in the town was double what is was at this time last year.

A summary of building permits in the town dated to Oct. 31 shows the annual value to be just over $12M this year, compared to just under $6.1M through 10 months in 2016.

The town's chief administrative officer Barry Romanko said the annual value of building permits has hovered around $4-$6M for the past half-decade.

He noted a spike in 2015 when a permit worth $6M was issued for the new fire hall in Osoyoos, which opened earlier this year.

Romanko said this year's building permit value will be the largest he's seen in his near-10-year tenure as the town's CAO, but didn't say the value exemplifies a building boom.

He pointed to years between 2003-07 in the town, when he said the development of two major resorts and multi-family units resulted in annual building values between $30-$40M.

"Those are boom numbers," Romanko said.

"I wouldn't call (2017) a boom compared to what we experienced here in the mid-2000's, but it is a substantial increase."

"And it's really driven by the development of single-family homes."

For the year, only 19 out of 76 building permits in Osoyoos have been labelled new single-family dwellings, but those permits have accounted for $7.2M of the $12M total value to date.

"I know we'll be getting permits for an additional five homes... I think those will be making this year's numbers, so it will be a very good year for us," Romanko said.

Mayor Sue McKortoff said this year's building permit values also indicate the amount of renovations that people are taking on for existing structures.

"I don't think that we're having a boom more than anybody else is... I can't tell you why these things happen, but it's a positive."

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