City riding wave of new investment in midst of pandemic

An artist rendering of the redeveloped Lambton County Shared Services Centre. (Handout.)

Sarnia is riding a wave of new investment in the midst of the pandemic.

City hall issued 84 building permits in March with a total construction value of more than $39 million.

The largest permit of $13 million is for the Bayside Mall redevelopment being undertaken by Oakville-based Seasons Retirement Communities.

Mayor Mike Bradley said it’s very encouraging for the community during difficult times.

“It’s a really good, strong message to the community despite the challenging times that we’re in, that the investment in the community has skyrocketed,” said Bradley. “The total redevelopment of the Bayside Mall is well underway and we’re seeing a $13 million building permit on one part of it, and other building permits will be coming. We’re also seeing industrial and commercial development in the community too, so we’re seeing a record number of projects coming forward.”

Mayor Bradley said the game-changing downtown redevelopment will help the area’s economy recover from COVID-19.

“People will really notice it when the cranes are up there starting the exterior development for the retirement community building. But there is a massive amount of money being spent right now which is being reflected in the building permits and it will have a huge impact on the downtown. As we recover from COVID we’ll have this brand new project keeping all these people employed down there and plus new employment at a time when we’re exiting COVID, it’s a good way to recover.”

The March building numbers also include a $9.6 million permit for ongoing renewal and expansion projects at Lambton College.

Through the first quarter of 2021, 148 building permits have been issued with a total value of $53.6 million, well ahead of the $13 million pace through the first three months of 2020.

Permits for single family homes in Sarnia are triple what they were at this time last year. There were 15 permits issued in March for a year-to-date total of 36, compared to 12 last year.

-With files from Melanie Irwin