Williams Lake city councillor Sue Zacharias is glad to see airport passenger and new home construction are on the rise.
According to the city’s latest economic indicator report, in the first half of 2012, 17,054 passengers came through the airport.
“2008 was our biggest year with 17,611 passengers and we’re climbing back up there. I think travel is always an indicator, “ Zacharias said.
In new home construction there were 12 homes constructed for a value of $2.6 million.
“It’s exciting to see new home construction and that the value of homes is up, too.”
Home construction continues to fluctuate as the report showed in 2008 there were 15 homes constructed, only six in 2009, 14 in 2010, and 10 in 2011.
Voicing concerns about the vacancy rate being high at 10.7 per cent, up from 7.9 per cent in 2011, Zacharias asked staff why the rates are higher than the 3.4 per cent average in other cities of similar size.
City social development co-ordinator Anne Burrill explained the high vacancy rate reflects the number of three-plus bedroom units available in Williams Lake.
“That vacancy rate is around 24 per cent so it pushes our vacancy rate higher,” Burrill said, adding there are very few one-bedroom units available.
Other statistics in the report include building permits — 69 with permitted value of $3,9 million, down from 76 in 2011 at a value of $5.2 million.
There is only one major building project listed for 2012 being Platform Properties second development, with a permit value of $908,654.
Business licenses are at the highest level since 2007 with 76 in 2012, compared to 48 in 2011.
Unemployment rates, however, remain higher than the provincial rate, with the Cariboo being at 7.8 per cent compared to 6.7 per cent. However, that is not broken down to reflect the rate in Williams Lake specifically.
House sales are down from 2010 and 2011, while the average selling price is increasing.
In 2012 the average selling price for a residential home is $244,903, a total of 156 property and home sales occurred for a value of $32.9 million.