Based on the number of permits issued by the city throughout the year, new construction starts didn’t slow down much in 2020 due to a global pandemic. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Based on the number of permits issued by the city throughout the year, new construction starts didn’t slow down much in 2020 due to a global pandemic. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

City of Campbell River sees $120-million in construction starts in 2020

Despite pandemic, building numbers continue to impress city staff

According to the City of Campbell River, the construction boom that has been happening for the past number of years shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

After all, we may be in the middle of a global pandemic, but people still want to live here in paradise and they’ll still need homes while they do.

“The total estimated new construction value in 2020 was $120 million,” says City Manager Deborah Sargent. “That’s so significant during a year when so many things weren’t able to move forward on their regular paths.”

While that number isn’t a new record for construction like we’ve been seeing over and over again for the past number of years – 2019 saw $125 million in construction starts, for example – it didn’t decrease by nearly as much as might have been expected, Sargent says.

“Yes, it was a few million less than the year before, but it was also a totally different year to be working in,” Sargent says.

That construction added 120 new multi-family units to our community, along with another 93 single-family homes, “which is actually very similar to what was created the year before,” Sargent says, “which was 172 multi-family units and 98 single-family units.”

In 2020, 415 permit applications were received by the city between the housing builds and other, smaller permits required by people, Sargent says, and she’s extremely happy with how city staff adapted to not only continue to accept and process those applications, but also perform all the follow-up requirements needed to ensure the construction was done safely and to a standard the community can be proud of.

In 2020, the city performed 2,547 building inspections – “which is almost identical to the number we did in 2019,” Sargent says – and most of those had to be done under sudden new COVID-19 safety protocols and ever-changing provincial health orders.

“I think we managed to work really well with the development industry to ensure that not only were we open for business but we were actively working on the files that came before us,” Sargent says. “I can’t praise our Development Services Department enough for how quickly they transitioned to the ‘new normal’ with COVID – how quickly they went online with accepting applications, assisted by the finance department being able to take credit card payments for building applications, permit applications or engineering applications. And they did that with a workforce which, at that time, was working significantly out of office.”

While the south end of the city is continuing to grow by leaps and bounds, as it has over the last few years, Sargent says development is also beginning to spread throughout the city.

“There’s quite a bit of work happening in the Willow Point area, particularly with the multi-family units right on 19A, but there’s also the work going on in the Merecroft area and quite a bit of work going on in the Quinsam area in terms of single-family residential development and we’re starting to see more interest in that Willis Road corridor,” Sargent says. “It’s really starting to spread out into all of our village centres in terms of where new development is occurring.”

And you can expect to keep seeing new builds starting all over the city for the foreseeable future.

“I can tell you that this year – we’re only in mid-February – things have not slowed down at all in our Development Services division,” Sargent says. “We have many new applications coming in more more multi-family developments, for single-family subdivisions, and, of course, building permits,” such as those for renovation projects.

You can find out more about how the city is growing at its website,

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