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Kamloops sets new building permit record

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Kamloops hit a new record for new construction last year.

In 2022, the City of Kamloops issued more than $415 million in new building permits, up about $20 million from the previous record set in 2020, according to a report from city staff. The city more than doubled the roughly $200 million worth of permits issued in 2021.

That's still well below Kelowna where more than $1 billion in construction projects was approved last year. Vernon and Penticton had less than $200 million in approved construction last year.

The number of building permits issued in Kamloops last year "far exceeded" staff predictions, according to the report.

Most of the new construction in Kamloops were residential builds with $237 million in permits for 816 homes. It's not clear from the staff report what the city expected for new builds in 2022.

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The new residential projects approved included the City Gardens development, which is the largest-ever residential build in Kamloops. Work is currently underway for its three-story parkade and foundations before work on the six residential buildings, which will have 525 homes, starts.

A total 558 of units were specified for rentals of the 816 new homes approved for construction. There was growth in the number of single-family homes as well with 100 new building permits approved.

Forty-three per cent of building permits were in subdivisions like Valleyview, Rayleigh and Juniper Heights, while 39% were in South Shore areas like Pineview, Aberdeen, Sahali and downtown. Just 18% were in Brocklehurst, Westsyde, Batchelor Heights and the North Shore.

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The city is still making strides to encourage more development in the city, especially in its core areas.

Last year, council approved another 10-year tax exemption for new residential developments in core areas. The policy not only includes downtown and the North Shore, but now encourages redevelopment of aging motels. Developers can apply and pay a reduced tax rate for a newly-built property under the "revitalization tax exemption."

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The city also finished its North Shore plan, rezoning much of the area to encourage denser housing across the North Shore and Brocklehurst neighbourhoods.

The city is also moving to reduce development cost charges for new builds, which is a fund pooled for large infrastructure projects. That hasn't yet been approved, but it is expected to return for a council vote this spring.

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