BUILDING activity in Warrnambool is on the rise with new statistics pointing to growth in construction coming from new north and eastern neighbourhoods.
More than 130 residential permits were granted during the autumn quarter, representing an increase of more than 20 per cent on the same period last year.
Overall, new building activity worth $22.6 million was approved in the quarter, with $19.3 million coming from residential permits.
Commercial permits are also on the rise with 23 granted in autumn compared to 16 in the same period between March 1 and May 31 last year.
City council growth director Bill Millard inspected progress on residential development near Aberline Road yesterday and said the figures showed Warrnambool was growing steadily.
“What we’re seeing is moderate growth at both a residential and commercial level but it’s growth that’s sustainable and planned for,” Mr Millard said.
“A number of new neighbourhoods are under construction this year. This Aberline Road area obviously accounts for some of that growth but there’s also a lot to be said about the growth seen in north Dennington and along Wangoom Road.”
The latest figures follow on from a long-term trend of sustained suburban growth in Warrnambool.
New building activity worth $17.7 million was approved in the 2013 autumn quarter with roughly $15.3 million coming from residential and $2.4 million from commercial permits.
Cr Kylie Gaston said a range of people, including young couples, families and retirees, were choosing to live in Warrnambool due to its attractive location and modern amenities.
“Certainly we’re seeing a lot of new houses under construction in the city’s west — the gap between Warrnambool and Dennington is almost non-existent,” Cr Gaston said.
“There are challenges that come with growth but it’s a good position to be in that Warrnambool is growing rather than having a static population or losing residents.”
Mr Millard said the building industry activity remained a key part of the region’s economy, given roughly seven per cent of Warrnambool jobs derive from construction.
“There are obvious advantages for any regional city in having the sustained growth Warrnambool has,” he said.
“It means there’s not a radical ebb and flow of construction jobs. That once one project is complete, people can expect to start work on another almost immediately.”