PENTICTON - A spike in construction activity in Penticton has city officials smiling these days, probably no one more so than the city staffer whose job it to attract economic investment to the city.
City of Penticton economic development officer Colleen Pennington says the city has at least seven notable projects either underway or about to start, and numerous smaller developments scattered around the city.
"We’ve seen lots of investment in new housing all over the city filling in lots where one house is replaced with two or three,” Pennington says.
So far this year the city has recorded $27 million in construction projects with a ramp up in those figures expected when the hospital project gets underway in earnest in August.
The city could be headed for its strongest year since 2006 when the South Okanagan Events Centre was under construction.
Pennington says the city has issued the foundation permit for Gateway Casinos and Entertainment’s Cascade Casino, the Lakeside Resort expansion has begun, there is the city’s work on the 100 and 200 block revitalization, Starline Enterprises’ multiple residential tower project on South Main, the repurposing of the Penmar Theatre and improvements to the Lakawanna concession.
"When you look at the robustness of the housing markets and these big projects, we’re doing really well,” she says.
There is also a lot of interest in rental condominium development, Pennington says, adding there are real shortages of that type of accommodation for seniors and young families.
“We’re happy to see that kind of development coming,” she says.
Pennington says the construction will introduce a number of technical experts to Penticton, many who will visit the city for the first time.
“These projects spin off into the community. Every time we get a new group coming that’s good for tourism, the wine industry, accommodation and restaurants,” she says.
Pennington says the city will be working on several other capital projects this year, including paving of the Eckhardt Avenue parking lot at the South Okanagan Events Centre and possibly expanding the sidewalk at the city’s north entrance to provide easier access to the channel trails.
Mayor Andrew Jakubeit also pointed to the construction activity in the city during official ground breaking ceremonies for the city’s new casino Friday, May 13, saying he expects the city’s development pace to be “unprecedented” this year.
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