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Permits continue to be issued despite pandemic

by Sylene Argent The current COVID-19 pandemic has not seemed to slow down interest in building in the Town of Essex, an Economic Development report presented to Essex Council at the April 20 meeting suggests.   In the Building Report and Development Overview that Nelson Silveira, Economic Development Officer, prepared, it notes $7,226,002 in total construction value has been noticed for March 2020. This includes all new and expanding commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential developments that required a building permit.   This is up 248 percent from March 2019, the report notes.   During the meeting, Councillor Steve Bjorkman commented that it is pretty incredible that, up to this point in the year, the Town is up to $14 million in permits for building. The big one, is in additions and renovation, which is around $4.5 million.   “[There is a] tremendous amount of work being done in our Town, compared to any time. So, great job. Really good work from our building departments and our planners. This is what we are after. Even as bad as things are with COVID, this is still marching on,” Bjorkman said.   Mayor Larry Snively said a lot of people are doing renovations currently. He said he sees it all over the concession roads, “Which is a good sign things are happening.”   At the April 6 Council meeting, Director of Development, Lori Chadwick, said her team had previously set out to find expansion projects that were being undertaken without a permit. Seven infractions were noticed at that time, and the work was asked to be stopped until proper permits or measures were issued. She said that will continue once a week to ensure if something was being built without a permit, action is being taken.    In regards to real estate, the average sale price of a home in March 2020 in Wards 1 and 2 was $319,333. This was lower than 2019, which was $352,725. The average sales price in Ward 3 and 4 in 2020 was $412,846. This was higher than 2019, which was at $365,677.   The report notes that there was an increase in real estate sales in March of 2020, with 35 single family dwelling homes sold, compared to 21 in March of 2019.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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