March 24, 2019
by Nathaniel Johnson, The Welland Tribune
Welland is poised for another year of record growth.
Grant Munday, manager of development approvals, said the value of building permits issued in the city to date in 2019 already represents more than $16 million in construction. Thirty-six per cent of that residential growth is attributed to single detached homes.
Munday last week presented a residential growth report to council which showed the value of building permits was more than $128 million last year.
That number is the second highest in the city since 2013. In 2017, the city issued building permits for $162 million worth of construction. The value of permits issued in 2016 was more than $81 million.
Munday said 60 per cent of the housing units built last year are within 300 metres of public transit, which should lead to increased ridership.
“We had 20 apartment units created in the downtown CIP area and in the health and wellness CIP area, south of Lincoln Street, we had 55 dwelling units, including the 50 new units on King Street,” he said.
Munday said a single project at 115 Division St. resulted in a portion of an office building converted into 18 units, with the two others in a different building.
Ward 1 saw almost of its growth in the North Valley Drive area, while Ward 2 saw its growth south of Price Avenue and west of First Avenue.
Ward 3 saw the highest percentage of growth in the Gaiser Road area, west of South Pelham Road. There, 73 street townhouse units and 61 single-detached homes went up or started construction.
Ward 3 John Chiocchio questioned Munday about why there is a decrease in the number of single-detached homes being built and an increase in townhouses.
“There’s a number of factors. An aging population, a townhouse provides less maintenance and is a more affordable option,” said Munday.
He told council that growth in the Ward 4 area of the city was a bit more scattered, with a concentration in the Hunters Pointe area. That area is expected to grow this year as developers work on the Central Village subdivision.
The Memorial Park area was the largest area of growth last year in Ward 5, with scattered pockets elsewhere. Ward 6 also saw scattered pockets of development.
Munday said benefits to increased growth in the city include an increased tax base, an increase in transit use, revitalization of key areas and the city becomes more attractive to employers.
“There are some challenges, too. Housing affordability is one, though there is the new 50-unit affordable housing on King St.”
Protecting greenfields from urban sprawl is also a challenge as is increased traffic in the city and increased demand for services.
Climate change is also an issue.
“We’ll need to pay more attention to it in the future.”
Ward 4 Coun. Bryan Green said the value of permits issued last year is a testament to the great work being done by the city to attract new people and new businesses.
Green asked what the forecast was for 2019, to which Munday replied the city can expect to see similar results as in 2018.