The Planning Manager for the RM of Hanover admits he is surprised by the brisk building activity in the municipality this year.

Jeremy Neufeld says when COVID-19 hit our province in March, no one knew the ripple effect it might have. He notes there was some concern that construction might slow down sharply, but Neufeld says that has not been the case. In fact, Hanover is ahead of the pace set in 2019.

When you compare total building permits through the first half of 2020 and 2019, Neufeld says they have issued 180 permits worth $31.2 million this year, compared to 147 for $27.2 million last year. He notes it seems a lot of people are using the pandemic as an opportunity to make some improvements on their homes and yards.

"There is definitely a change in mentality," suggests Neufeld. "Instead of going away, it's maybe stay home and improve what we've got."

When you break down the numbers further, Hanover has issued 66 permits for new housing starts this year, compared to 60 through the first six months a year ago. The total value of those permits this year is $16 million.

Neufeld says this year Kleefeld has more new housing starts than any other community in Hanover.

"Kleefeld has taken off," he says. "The last couple of years we have seen the numbers in Kleefeld increasing year after year."

Kleefeld has had 24 new housing starts this year, compared to 19 in Mitchell, four in Blumenort, two in New Bothwell, one in Grunthal and then 16 in the rural area.

According to Neufeld, the Annenfeld subdivision in Kleefeld is quite a success story and helping to contribute to that community's strong numbers this year.