Is the frenetic pace we have been setting for the past two years about to level off at least a little bit?
One good indicator that this is perhaps so, might be found in the recent building permit reports provided by city hall on a monthly basis.
When we aren't setting new records in construction volume and evaluations with each passing month, then perhaps there is some levelling off happening. And that could almost be a good thing. Everyone needs a moment to catch their breath and do a little calculating as to where they've been, where they are and where they expect to be in the next six months.
With natural gas prices remaining low and benchmark oil prices staying well below peak levels but still high enough to afford everyone engaged in the business a healthy profit ... this could be a good time for a little plateau work to take place. It could be time for some catch-up on details that were left undone due to the frantic nature of the industry for the past 24 to 30 months.
With the City of Estevan's building permit values being a few million behind last year's pace, it doesn't seem too bad since even this pace is still very healthy. A more realistic pace with more realistic expectations for completion dates might be welcomed.
With construction crews maybe not having to rush hither and yon putting out fires or trying to meet strict, unrealistic deadlines for a change, it might lead to happier and more efficient teams of employees.
After being on fast forward for two years, perhaps we'll be able to see if efficiency improves when those performing the work have an opportunity to spend a little time with a family and friends, or get more than one good night's sleep in the week.
Being subjected to unrealistic targets day after day can lead to some harsh stress factors that, in turn, often lead to bad and unsafe choices being made. Drugs are inhaled just so you can keep going. Health concerns are bypassed because the job has to be completed and you don't have time to get it checked out.
Families get ignored when the growth period is long-lasting and constant. Those things take a toll on everyone and those effects drift down to include others.
Prices soar and living costs match them, putting a whole set of new pressures on the workforce. Everyone is forced to charge more, earn more in order to pay the rent, mortgage, insurance, car payment and other bills. It's unrelenting.
So perhaps a little indication that there might be a bit of a reprieve, or a small blip in the pace of things for a month or two, might be welcomed.
We don't expect things will ever be as quiet and docile as they were five or six years ago, but seeing a building permit report that isn't a record-setting one every month is not really a bad thing either.
Maybe it's a sign that we may just be settling into a sensible growth pattern rather than continuing with one that was nothing other than an unholy rush without any end in sight.