SKY HIGH: Gary Powell, subcontracting to Clarence Valley Sheds works on a new shed near Junction Hill.
SKY HIGH: Gary Powell, subcontracting to Clarence Valley Sheds works on a new shed near Junction Hill. Adam Hourigan

Building industry skyrockets with DA approval spike

APPROVED development applications have gone beyond the magic $100 million mark in the Clarence Valley this financial year.

The applications approved by Clarence Valley Council are worth $70,000 more than for the last financial year and are largely made up of smaller developments such as housing developments, pools, sheds and the like.

Business has been through the roof for the past 12 months at Clarence Valley Sheds, where Samantha Winters said residential growth had resulted in an increased demand for their products.

"Usually we're able to keep on top of our jobs as they arrive in our yard in one to two weeks," she said.

"At the moment we have so much work on that we're almost looking at five to six weeks.

"It's a little bit crazy how much work we've had on.

"We've been busy since the middle of last year and it hasn't slowed down at all.

"Usually business can tend to drop off after Christmas, but this year it hasn't stopped.

"It's not only recurring customers, it's the growth in the area and new subdivisions."

Andrew Tom from Andrew Tom Builder said he's had an extremely busy year, with a lot of storm work which includes the Maclean Showground, roofs in Grafton and the scaffolding around the Bottom Pub in Maclean.

Mr Tom said he felt council could often be slow at getting applications through, with one of his major projects taking 12-18 months to be approved.

"I think (the $100 million of DAs approved) is a good thing for the area, it would be good to see more," he said.

"This is a growing area and there are a lot of people coming to this area. It would be good to see more so work can progress."

Council general manager Ashley Lindsay said this was a positive sign for the Clarence economy.

Mr Lindsay said the council approved $100,518,672 applications from July 1, 2017 to April 30, 2018, showing investor confidence in the Clarence.

The approvals exclude major developments such as the new Grafton jail and highway developments, which are approved by other levels of government.

Mr Lindsay said $100 million figure had been reached before, but believed it was the earliest in the financial year where that had happened.

"The private hospital proposed for Grafton was the biggest single development at $12.5 million," he said.

"Most of what we have seen this financial year is from small-medium investors.

"It shows they have a lot of faith in the Clarence and are prepared to back their confidence in the region with investment.

"What is also encouraging is the trend seems to be ongoing.

"People are showing faith in the future of the Clarence."

Council's economic development coordinator, Elizabeth Fairweather, said the Clarence was going through a major transition.

"We need to build on this and make sure we don't miss opportunities," she said.

"Council's economic development team gets a lot of inquiries from potential investors for help and we work with them behind the scenes to try to get them across the line. It can be quite intense.

"Most investors require confidentiality, so much of the work we do is unseen."

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