Metro Vancouver’s construction industry is now one of the few relatively strong remaining industries continuing to power through during the onset of the economic challenges resulting from COVID-19.
On Monday night, Surrey City Council provided construction workers and trades with further work by approving a series of civic engineering infrastructural capital contract awards, with a value of $14 million, creating about 140 new jobs. This construction work is expected to begin by the end of this month.
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Private contractors will perform upgrades to drainage pump station facilities to mitigate agricultural floodplain risk, install new sidewalks to improve access to schools and transit facilities and upgrade 1.34 km of water mains, 2.54 km of sewers, and 0.74 km of drainage utilities.
Additionally, city council also fave final approval for five private development projects, including 127 townhouses at 16367 20 Avenue worth $31.75 million and 15 single-family homes at 16713 20 Avenue worth $3.925 million, both within the Sunnyside neighbourhood.
In the Bridgeview area at 11350 Bridgeview Drive, a 66,000-sq-ft industrial warehouse building worth $4.913 million has been approved. Renovations valued at $280,000 for the Burger King restaurant at 12525 88 Avenue saw approval as well.
Over at 14706 104 Avenue, BC Housing has received permission for the construction of a six-storey, 36,640-sq-ft permanent modular building with 61 supportive social housing units for the homeless. This project’s estimated value of construction is $8.163 million.
“With the uncertainties of COVID-19, the City of Surrey is doing its part to stimulate the local economy and create local jobs,” said Mayor Doug McCallum in a statement. “That’s why Council has placed a priority on private projects that are deep in the development approval process. Our goal is to make sure they can quickly and efficiently move through the application and building process so they can get shovels in the ground and people to work as quickly as possible.”
“In unprecedented times like this, it is crucial that council is united in doing everything we can to shore up our local economy and provide opportunities for new work wherever appropriate.”
Additionally, the city states building and development permit approvals — 157 permits, including 168 homes — from March 16 to April 3 resulted in a total of construction value of $133 million.
Under the regulations put in place by the provincial government, construction sites, construction companies, and trades are deemed an essential service and can continue to operate, as long as they follow workplace health safety guidelines.
But municipal governments across the region are taking on different measures with processing and reviewing applications, with some cities now intaking applications virtually and having their staff review projects from home. Others have been more restrictive, including suspending public hearings for rezoning projects until further notice.