The City of Penticton saw a third straight year of strong development and continued growth in 2018, according to the 2018 economic development year in review report delivered to city council this week.
“In a nutshell, at a really broad stroke, the economy was looking very healthy in 2018 for Penticton,” said Jennifer Vincent, economic development specialist. “We’re looking at business licensing activity, we’re looking at development and construction, and those kind of statistics that we track within the city.”
Key themes addressed last year included strategic collaboration and partnerships, improved communication processes and making local data more readily available to the community. The in-depth report sections include an environmental scan, advisory feedback and research, accountability, and statistics and insights.
“When we look forward from 2018 onward, we use planning applications as our best tool for forecasting what people are planning on doing,” said Vincent. “So the planning applications in 2018 continued to come in at a fairly strong level if slightly reduced from the years before, but not so much that we’d think there’s a large slowdown coming in the market.”
In the last two months of 2018, the city received 10 development permit applications. Vincent noted that the applications the city has been seeing are varied, indicating that there is no one focus on residential or commercial development but “a good mix.”
“When you look at some of the projects that are planned for downtown, mainly the breweries, you can see there is a confidence in those business owners and that investment that this community is growing and is going to be strong,” said Vincent.
“The real estate transaction numbers are really interesting too. The overall number of residential sales went down but the value went up, which is kind of not surprising since we have a smaller inventory but people still want to come here,” said Vincent, adding that industrial, commercial and institutional sales and values were up.
“That tells me that people are watching what happens in the residential market, determining that it’s a good time to buy commercial property and getting involved. That’s another piece, people who watch the markets very carefully and from that long-range vision, still think this is a strong investment.”
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