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Total value of building permits soared in Sarnia in 2021

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Building permits with a total value of $137.8 million were issued in 2021 by Sarnia City Hall – a more than $57-million jump over the previous year.

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“Over the past 20 years, this marks the second highest year in construction value since the development of Bluewater Health in 2006,” Adam MacDonald, Sarnia’s manager of building and bylaw services, said in an email.

The city’s building permit total in 2020 was $80.7 million.

MacDonald said the city typically sees yearly totals in the range of $75 million to $105 million, and has seen an increase in development over the past five years.

“Construction within the municipality has drastically increased during the pandemic,” he said.

Another impact of the COVID-19, though, has been that homeowners and builders are experiencing problems with the supply of building materials, MacDonald said.

Still, the city issued a total of 603 building permits in 2021, compared to 510 the previous year.

The number of permits for new single-family homes also increased in 2021, with 96 issued by the end of year. That compares to 65 in 2020.

“The city is currently working with local developers through the approval process on some new exciting multi-unit developments,” MacDonald said. “We are hopeful to see construction start in early spring.”

One of the permits issued by the city in the final weeks of 2021 was for Lambton County’s 24-unit affordable housing project at 993 Maxwell St. that was valued at $5.4 million.

It’s to be built on the site of the county’s Maxwell Park Place affordable housing facility, and will be a modular project with sections of the new building manufactured off site and then assembled at the location facing London Road.

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“This has proven to be a very successful project within the municipality, and we can only hope for future growth to help with affordable housing,” MacDonald said.

A report from the county’s housing services department says site preparation has begun and foundation work is expected to occur in early 2022, with the first module expected to arrive in the spring.

Construction is expected to be completed in September, the county said.

The project is expected to cost a total of $6.1 million. It received $1.3 million from the Canada-Ontario Community Housing Initiative, with the balance expected to come from county reserves and a loan.

The 24 one-bedroom apartments will include six fully accessible units.

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