Langley City has recorded another record year for construction, even though the year isn’t quite over yet.
Figures released by the development services and economic development office show the City issued 306 permits this year, setting a new construction value record of $112.3 million.
That’s more than 10 per cent above the previous year, when the City set an all-time record of $100.8 million, driven by a dramatic increase in multi-family developments.
City mayor Val van den Broek said the seeds for the continuing growth were sown several years ago.
“The last council really had a vision,” van den Broek said.
“It was to grow the community in a good way. This is proof of that.”
She cited the Nexus plan, which aims to shape development to prepare for the arrival of rapid transit, as one factor that encourages builders to bring their business to the City.
As well, the City has forged a reputation for handling development applications efficiently.
“I think developers are realizing Langley is the place to be, ” van den Broek said.
The mayor said she is confident the trend will continue in 2019.
“I see our numbers continuing,” van den Broek said.
One issue that needs to be addressed, the mayor said, is an apparent scarcity of building inspectors, who are regulated by the provincial government.
Van den Broek speculated the City could look at some funding for training new inspectors to ensure projects don’t have to wait too long to get the necessary clearances.
Langley City ranked number one in B.C. for housing starts this year with 195 per 10,000 residents according to a B.C. Business magazine “Best Cities for Work in B.C. 2019” survey.
Township of Langley had 71 housing starts per 10,000 residents.
Overall the City ranked seventh while the Township ranked fourth.
Earlier this year, a survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) found Langley City has one of the best red tape records in B.C.
The “Municipal Red Tape Detective” report checked out online services for business applicants, and had people pose as would-be entrepreneurs and email questions.
Langley City ranked third after first-place Kelowna and second-place Delta.
The City of Langley had a score of 78 out of 100.
The City did “particularly well” when it came to access to information, the report said, “and should be recognized for their online account, ‘MyCity’, and their ‘EasyPay’ system which allows entrepreneurs to pay for their business license online.”
Under quality of information, the CFIB analysis gave the city a thumbs-up for quickly responding to email queries.
The Township of Langley received a grade of 74 out of 100, ranking seventh.
A Fraser Institute study found Langley City posted the fastest approval times in all of of Metro Vancouver for housing permits, averaging around 1.6 months.
When the City broke the $100 million mark last year, much of it was the result of an increase in multi-family condos, townhouses and market rentals, from 128 residential units worth $22.4 million in 2016 to 421 residential units with a value of $77.7 million in 2017.
Over the previous five years, building permits had averaged $41.5 million a year and the previous all-time record for building permits issued was set in 1994, $61.2 million.