The team behind the Weyburn Builds program are hoping to see a big increase in applications this year. Amanda Kaufmann, the City’s residential building officer, believes the program “will see a huge increase by the end of 2012.”
“If you look at the price of building on a new lot in the city and compare the price to doing an addition or new construction on an existing site, it is more beneficial in my opinion to do an addition,” Kaufmann said.
The Weyburn Builds program is designed to encourage replacement and improvement of exteriors of aging houses in older parts of Weyburn. In addition to updating older parts of the city, Weyburn Builds encourages the use of local materials and labour to assist in developing the economy of the community.
The program does this by providing grants to people who undertake major construction in the in-fill area. These grants are for new houses and ready-to-move homes moved into the in-fill area. The grant for this type of construction is a 75 per cent reduction in the owner’s property taxes in each of the first three years they live in it.
As well, grants of up to $1,000 are available to those taking on major exterior renovations to their homes or moving mobile or existing homes into the city. This grant is based on the project’s approved construction value, with a minimum value of $5,000. If approved, owners will be given $50 for every $1,000 of construction, with a maximum grant of $1,000. Attached buildings are eligible for this grant, while detached buildings and accessory buildings are not, as they are not additions to a dwelling unit.
Eligible grant construction areas include the South Hill, the surrounding area of the Weyburn Exhibition Grounds and homes around the Weyburn General Hospital. In addition to being in the proper area of the city, to be eligible grant applications must be submitted prior to the start of the project and a building permit has to be issued. As well, applicants must be able to prove 50 per cent of the content used in construction was local and provide copies of receipts within 30 days of the project’s completion.
Last year, there were six applications to Weyburn Builds and all were approved. Of the six, two were exterior construction grants and four were for new home construction. Kaufmann believes these numbers will go up in 2012.
“There are lots of additions and demolition projects for new homes going on around the city right now ... I think word is getting out (about what Weyburn Builds is), but I think a lot of people still don’t know much about it. But, word of mouth is starting to spread about us and I think that will help us this year,” Kaufmann said.
Kaufmann also said Weyburn Builds provides “a great incentive to people who want to do additions onto their homes.”
“It is a great for people who are doing additions because it helps them take on the cost of their construction better. Also, the program really helps with improving and beautifying the older parts of our city,” Kaufmann added.