Hamilton

Hamilton construction tops $1B with highest number of building projects ever

In a sign that Hamilton's renaissance is continuing, the city has seen more than $1 billion in building permits this year. That's the sixth time in seven years.
Hamilton has seen more than $1 billion in construction growth this year. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)

In a sign that Hamilton's renaissance is continuing, the city has seen more than $1 billion worth of construction this year. That's the sixth time in seven years.

The city passed the milestone on Thursday, when it hit $1,010,000,000 in building permits. That represents 8,741 building projects in the residential, institutional, commercial and industrial sector.

It's "the highest number ever," the city said in a media release.

Ed VanderWindt, the city's chief building official, told councillors about the victory in an email Thursday.

This year, the permits come from many different projects, he said, rather than one single major one.

"This milestone is a testament to just how much residents, businesses and the community are invested in Hamilton," he wrote.

The number comes as the Conference Board of Canada recently forecasted that the city's economy will grow by two per cent in 2017.

It hasn't all been good news this year for Hamilton's growth. In February, a city report showed 88 per cent of Hamilton's assessment growth in 2015 was residential, not the more desirable businesses or industry growth. That leaves the bulk of the city's tax burden squarely on the shoulders of Hamilton homeowners.

Now, city council is putting more focus on how to grow its industrial parks. The city also wants to bank more shovel-ready land to offer prospective employers to encourage more of them to locate here. In an interview in August, city hall critic Don McLean from Citizens at City Hall (CATCH) called that overkill.

At a budget meeting Friday, councillors will debate establishing a line of credit with an upset limit of $30 million to buy more "strategic employment land parcels."

Last week, a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation analyst also said that while housing prices are going up, the number of full-time jobs for many Hamiltonians has decreased. More people, the analyst said, are in part-time jobs and precarious employment.

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