Significant residential growth in Welland has been projected for the past five years, but one factor in the city having its “best year ever” in 2020 could be tied to people wanting to escape the Greater Toronto Area during the pandemic.
Three years in a row, Welland has broken its record set the previous year for new home construction.
The record-breaking pace of development last year comes “despite difficult economic circumstances across Ontario that have predominated for much of the year because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said a news release from communications firm Enterprise Canada on behalf of the municipality.
In an interview Tuesday, Grant Munday, the city’s interim director of development and building services, said the pandemic “seems maybe to have intensified the growth in terms of demand.”
By the end of 2020, Welland had hit a new residential development record of 519 units for the year, following previous single-year records of 474 units in 2019 and 401 units built in 2018.
“We’re well above where we thought we’d be in 2021,” said Munday.
The city added a record of more than $200 million in building permit construction value for the year.
Over the next two decades, the city’s population of about 54,000 is expected to climb nearly a third, adding 18,640 residents, according to projections from city hall.