There are some positive numbers and trends to celebrate in the first quarter economic indicators report.
Building permit values in the first quarter of 2012 are up $130,000 over the same period last year, totalling more than $2 million.
New home construction values have more than doubled to $1.48 million from $725,000; the unemployment rate has dropped; and the number of business licenses issued in the first quarter are up and we continue to have more than 1,000 in the city. Airport passengers went up almost 700 over the first quarter last year. The average selling price for a single family home is up $20,000 over last year, to $233,000. In addition, the city has received $1.46 million in direct grants since the beginning of the year. These government partnerships are key in carrying out infrastructure projects and other programs without going back to the taxpayer.
I attended the presentation last Friday night and the presentation Saturday by domestic violence counsellor and speaker Kamal Dhillon. It was a fantastic event, and her sessions here were a gift to the city. It was also great to see the community support our RCMP members; seven members were honoured by all sectors of our community Saturday. I toured the area where an underpass will be built in 2013 on Mackenzie Avenue, which will help open up the River Valley Trail. Trail users will have a way to loop out rather than backtracking down the trail. This highlights the importance of grants to the city; we have received $550,000 from the province for this project. The River Valley trails are a valuable asset; I encourage everyone to check them out.
Hats off to Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Williams Lake, which raised more than $25,000 at Bowl For Kids Sake last weekend. Thank you to all the businesses and individuals who supported this important fundraiser.
And I want to wish everyone a fun and safe Indoor Rodeo this weekend!
Kerry Cook is the mayor of Williams Lake.