Estevan is seeing some change come from building and business permits according to the 2023 Annual Land Development Services Report.

Released yearly, the report seeks to lay out what Estevan's Land Development Services has done through the 2023 calendar year and to measure progress in meeting the monitoring objectives of the community plan.

Land Development Services manager Richard Neufeld says that numbers have changed thanks to changing procedures.

"In terms of division activities under the new zoning bylaw, Council may remember for development permits the province told me to stop having dual development and building permits on structures anymore because it's different legislation. As a consequence of that, as you can see, for 2023 on page one there, the development permits jumped quite considerably from 2022 from 43 up to 73 permits. So that was to be expected and that's about what I was anticipating."

Neufeld says that in comparison to this year, permits have been taking off since January with 16 so far.

Subdivision applications totalled three, compared to five in both 2022 and 2021.

Zoning bylaw amendments also dropped from three in 2022 to just one in 2023 which focused on housekeeping edits.

There were two instances of bylaw enforcement, one related to an unauthorized accessory building in 2023, and another Stop Order in relation to an illegal suite.

One appeal was held by The Development Appeals Board in 2023 in relation to an oversized garage.

No levies were collected, though the city is expecting work on the King Street extension connecting King Street to Nesbitt Drive to require an update to the levy contribution rates for the Glen Peterson Neighbourhood this year.

While building function building permits were up from 40 last year to 45 this year, less construction value was recorded with $3.1 million in 2023 and $6.1 million in 2022. 

The city is also still working on the major project of a future land use plan for the Glen Peterson Neighbourhood, as well as making the planning process for people more user-friendly.

The City’s GIS system continued to develop over the 2023 calendar year, with business licensing added, a new online rollout, and a new flood plain based elevation contour.

Business licensing increased in 2023, with a marginal increase to 639 up from 637 in 2022.

Neufeld also took a look at the downtown area and saw in his study that the area was filling in over the year.

"I did a capacity study on the downtown to see how many storefronts are vacant and this is something I think that we can stress is a good news item. When I first moved here, the 4th Street downtown area, if I remember correctly, was probably sitting at only about 75% occupancy."

"In the last year or the year before, it was more like 91% occupancy on 4th Street. 5th Street definitely needs some love yet, but 4th Street is doing pretty well, and from what I can what I've been able to glean from other communities is if your vacancy rate is under 10%, you're doing pretty good. It's a fairly healthy downtown."

Neufeld says they've got the following projects they'll be looking at in 2024:

  • Adoption of the Glen Peterson Neighbourhood Plan.
  • Adoption of the City Centre Neighbourhood Plan.
  • Possible preparation of a neighbourhood plan for the land east of the Composite School.
  • Preparation of the King Street Corridor Neighbourhood Plan.