WINCHESTER – Growth of any kind anywhere in a community results in corresponding growth in other areas of the community.

In the case of the incredible recent growth in construction in North Dundas the municipality has hired an additional building inspector. The official title of the new position is applications expeditor/building inspector.

The request for the new position was brought up by the director of planning, building and bylaw enforcement, Calvin Pol.

“We do not have enough staff to accommodate that workload,” he said to councillors at their July 13 regular meeting.

“For the past 20 years, we have averaged 40 new houses a year. Currently we are projecting 400 new dwelling units in the next two years, based on the water allocation bylaw; this has begun, and we are running overtime with our existing employees and don’t want them to burn out with this steep increase in construction. The Wellings project alone will require daily inspections, almost a full-time person,” said Pol.

Jacob Forget chief building official and supervisor of bylaw enforcement explained

“Since 2006 the building permit code has changed tremendously.”

He explained that in order to be able to keep up with anticipated increase in building applications, the municipality has to be able to expedite each one as efficiently as possible.

Mayor Tony Fraser said he realized the municipality’s efforts to encourage more growth has resulted in placing an increased burden on various municipal departments. “We have all expressed the desire to have the level of service in North Dundas kept at a high level, and I think the time has come that in order to keep delivering the expected high level of service we cannot be overwhelming staff and increasing the workload twofold, threefold and more,” he said

Councillor Thompson said, “With the amount of development that we have and what we are seeing coming in over the next few years, it’s a good problem to have. “

Thompson added he believed adding someone to the department to help with inspections and keep the high level of service the municipality currently enjoys was a good idea.

Councillor Gary Annable said that from the publics’ perspective, adding to the department would give them a little bit more confidence to come in and feel that there is somebody there to walk them through the process and expedite the whole thing.

Pol’s report stated: “Since 2006, the Building Code has changed the way municipalities must conduct business. The number of inspections, the issuance of permits, the type and quality of inspections, the qualifications of its inspectors, liability insurance, and the reporting requirements have all evolved to have a significant impact on building departments. In 2020, the township issued a record-breaking number of building permits, far exceeding the years since amalgamation in 1998. Based on the current permits issued for 2021, it is estimated that 250 permits (excluding permit renewals) will be issued this year surpassing last year’s total. Prior to 2019, an average of 150 permits (including permit renewals) were issued per year. In order to address the surge in the number of permits and applications received in 2021, the building division has been working overtime regularly.”

North Dundas is anticipating continued growth including more construction over the next four to five years.”

His report went on to say: “Based on the water/sewer allocations granted by council, it is expected that approximately 400 permits will be issued within the villages of Winchester and Chesterville over the next two years; this number does not include all other construction projects taking place outside of the two villages where water and sewer are not provided. The department also has developers waiting to apply for water and sewer allocations; thus, showing a sign that the current surge in construction will continue well beyond the next two years.

Current large-scale projects include Welling’s of Winchester (423 units), Woods subdivision (132 units + apartments), Wylie Creek subdivision (26 lots), Silver Creek subdivision (35 lots), Parkview Homes (107 proposed units) and Winchester Meadows (36-48 Townhome units).”

The new position will improve customer service by expediting the intake of building permits and facilitating the exchange of information from applying residents and contractors. At the same time, applicants would have an opportunity to better understand the building code.