Lloydminster Mayor Gerald Aalbers views the year-over-year decline in building permit values as a glass half-full situation subject to change.
There were 188 permits with a total construction value of about $27.4 million at the end of the third quarter ending Sept. 30.
This is a decline compared to 215 permits by the end of the same 2016 period and a total construction value of approximately $31.9 million.
“This was the third quarter; we still have a little bit of time left,” said Aalbers optimistically.
“We’re hoping the economy continues to inch upward, and we may hopefully catch up to last year.”
He said his second choice would certainly be to exceed last year’s.
“It’s all going to be in the economy and wait and see what people do in the community,” he said.
The permit information was included in a third quarter capital update accepted as information by council on Monday with Aalbers asked by the media if there would be any impact on the 2018 budget.
“Well I don’t think it’s going to have an impact on the budget, but certainly there’s more potential tax benefits having people build and more buildings being built,” he said.
“We’ll just see where the final number ends, but certainly we know it’s been a little bit of tough sledding out there.”
He said he sees signs the oil and gas industry is still slowly recovering in the area and he is also seeing investment in the community.
Building permits topped $119.2 million in 2015 and $36.7 million in 2016 with this year’s commercial permits perceptibly lower than past years during the first nine-month period.
Aalbers says that’s evident by driving through the industrial areas of the community, but he’s cautiously optimistic for a turnaround in 2018.
“We’re building and moving forward,” he said including what may be shaping up to be good fourth quarter for local retailers if Black Friday shopping was any indication of economic strength.
“I think anyone who was out this past weekend – certainly there’s some aggressive shoppers which tells me that people are spending some money,” said Aalbers.
He called that a very good sign explaining retail looks for that kind of commitment from the consumer noting the consumer has sent that indication.
“I think it’s not going to be a bad Christmas this year,” he said.