The Town of Hills achieved a record in building construction activities in 2005, issuing 1,382 building permits, representing a construction value of $183 million. In 2004-- the previous record-breaking year-- the Town issued 1,262 permits with a construction value of $148 million. The Building Zoning and Enforcement (BZE) Department collected $2.3 million in building permit fees in 2005-- almost half a million dollars more than the previous year. This year, 2006, BZE has budgeted for $1.7 million in building permit fee revenues. BZE director Henry Tse said he didn't expect this year to match the historical numbers posted by 2005, because housing starts were slowing down, but the amount of commercial building, particularly in the 401-407 Gateway Business Park, will likely keep help the numbers to keep pace. "In the general sense we won't be able to match 2005," said Tse, "but it's not a concern because the revenue will be there on the commercial side." Mayor Rick Bonnette agrees with that assessment. "There's enquiries almost every other day about the 401 Corridor and we're going to see more industrial growth coming to our town," said the mayor in an interview. He noted some of the "big players" in 2005 such as Fernbrook's bottling plant, Real Canadian Superstore, Price Chopper, and added "that's a sign that people want to invest in our community." In 2005, permits were issued for 786 new homes, including 565 new single detached homes, 23 semidetached or duplexes and 198 townhouses. This alone represented a construction value of $145 million and $1.8 million in permit fees for the Town. New home construction in In addition, BZE also Georgetown South helped the issued building permits for Town set a new record for build- five industrial buildings ing permits in 2005. including the first building Photo by Ted Brown permit for a major industrial project in the 401-407 Gateway Business Park. Another 10 permits were issued for additions or alterations to existing industrial buildings. Total construction value: $11 million and total building permit fees, $142,000. Commercial development was active too in 2005. Three new buildings were built with another 29 receiving additions or alterations. Construction value has been set at $17 million with $270,000 in permit fees generated for the Town. "Almost 16-17 per cent of the 2005 numbers are industrial/commercial and that's a good positive trend," said Bonnette, noting it will help to ease the residential tax burden; commercial/industrial sector's tax share now sits at about 12 per cent. However under the new Bill 124 (Building Code Statute Law Amendment Act) legislation, 2005 was the last year that building fee revenues could be used a revenue-generator for town-wide projects. Starting this year, all revenue over and beyond what was budgeted will go into a reserve fund to be used as a "rainy day" fund in future years when BZE doesn't meet its projected revenue.