Record year for development in Welland

By Michelle Allenberg, Tribune Staff

Development in Welland is thriving and city staff expect that growth to continue.

In 2017 the city saw a record for building and residential growth. During the past 10 years the city has seen a steady increase in building permits and there is no end in sight.

In 2016 the city issued 622 permits representing projects valued at $81.7 million. During 2017, 726 permits were issued, representing projects valued at more than $164.5 million. Mayor Frank Campion said he expects the city will issue about 700 permits this year, possibly more.

Roy Timms, owner of Timbro Design Build Contractors, said Welland is “reaping the rewards of their efforts over the last few years.”

With the increase in development, 2018 has the potential to be even better than previous years, Timms said.

Dan Degazio, Welland’s director of economic development, said the city is an appealing place for developers, for industry and housing, because of affordable prices, incentives and speedy approvals.

“We can start development in record time … within eight weeks,” Degazio said.

Most municipalities take anywhere from eight months to two years to approve a project and start development, Degazio said, adding Welland’s ability to work quickly is appealing because developers aren’t stuck paying money on property and business that isn’t profiting.

“The quicker they are in there, the quicker they are able to boost our economy,” he said. Campion said development is important in creating jobs, which in turn positively impacts the economy. Not only are tradespeople needed for construction, but also suppliers and technical staff. And he noted that eventually people will be needed to care for new infrastructure, including snow removal.

“The more people living here means the more people spending money here … Development generates more development,” he said.

Timms said this year he has about 10 more people working for him than he did last year. The increased interest in investing in Welland has created a number of job opportunities in development, and Timms is benefitting.

“We have four or five sites in the construction phase, and six or seven in the design phase,” Timms said.

For Degazio, another reason developers are interested in Welland is because of Campion. “Him meeting people goes a long way. He has made great contacts,” Degazio said.

Campion meets with developers to answer questions and show his support of projects in Welland.

The mayor said he has received a great deal of positive feedback from people looking to bring business to the city