Construction activity is well ahead of last year's pace in the Rural Municipality of Hanover.

Planning Manager Jeremy Neufeld says in the first quarter of 2021, the municipality issued 117 total permits, worth $17.2 million. By comparison, there were 43 permits for $8.4 million through the same period a year ago.

Though 2020 was a strong year for construction in Hanover, it did not get off to that quick a start.

"There was that March slowdown last year when COVID came into our region and there was a lot of uncertainty," recalls Neufeld. "Of course, we all know things just spun up and kept going after that. But yes we are seeing a continued move in that direction."

According to Neufeld, every indication is that things will not slow down this year.

"Everything that we've seen, people coming into the office, inquiries we're getting, conversations we've had with people in the trades as well as some of the suppliers, every indication is that we've got a busy year ahead of us," adds Neufeld.

If you break down the numbers, Neufeld says you will find that residential construction has also continued the momentum built in 2020. Through the first quarter this year there were 34 permits taken out for $8.5 million. That is ahead of the first quarter in 2020 which saw 23 permits for $5.9 million.

Neufeld says there has been a change in which community now leads the way in new housing starts.

"Last year Kleefeld was our hotbed," recalls Neufeld. "It seems things have shifted a little bit. Right now Blumenort had a fantastic start to the year."

Through the first three months of this year, Blumenort had 12 new housing starts, followed by Kleefeld with seven, Mitchell had five and New Bothwell had one. There were also nine permits pulled for new homes in the rural area.

"Based on some of the activities that we're seeing in the planning stages, I expect we're going to see continued hot activity in Blumenort this year," adds Neufeld.