Charlottetown booming, Stratford growth continues
Buildings are going up in Charlottetown at a rapid pace, Stratford continues to grow quickly, but a brief boom in Summerside appears to be over.
The value of building permits in Charlottetown has almost doubled in the last four years, peaking in 2012 at close to $117 million. The neighbouring town of Stratford, for years P.E.I.'s fastest growing community, chugged along steadily over that same period, averaging a little more than $30 million a year.
Summerside benefited in 2011 from some provincial construction projects, issuing almost $44 million worth of permits.
"The big one was the manors and the seniors apartment buildings. And the hospital certainly helped. But we did have a good year in 2011," said Mayor Basil Stewart.
The value of permits in 2012 returned to a more typical $20 million.
While Summerside is still growing, that growth pales in comparison to Stratford. The town is just over half the size of Summerside, but issued building permits worth 50 per cent more than those issued in P.E.I.'s second largest city.
Stewart said he wants council to consider lowering the tax rate in Summerside in the upcoming budget in an effort to stimulate the residential construction market.
Stratford Mayor David Dunphy said growing too fast can present its own set of issues.
"Part of the challenge as we grow is to keep that rural feel," said Dunphy.
"One of the things that we have to do, I think, is that we have to maintain as much as possible the green spaces that we have out there."
P.E.I.'s fourth largest community, Cornwall, has, in the meantime, seen a significant falling off in the value of building permits issued. While its neighbour Charlottetown doubled permit values since 2009, those in Cornwall were cut by more than half to just $6.4 million.
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