"A lot of buildings were already going ahead," said Mitch Collins, a Century 21 owner-broker realtor in Fort St. John, "but this decision will speed things up."
said there's widespread belief in the community of 26,000 that Site C will clear any remaining development hurdles, which include meeting 157 conditions and receiving final approval from the B.C. government.
North Point's 56-acre first phase has already been sold at $600,000 per acre, and Collins
said 142 duplex lots sold for $150,000 each on 22 acres that were spun off for multi-family housing.
noted that Fort St. John already has about a 1% rental vacancy rate, and Site C dam is expected to result in demand for at least another 1,200 housing units.
"And then you have the spinoff of all the suppliers and private contractors," he
Approximately 400 units of rental housing are being built in the city.
A 4,000-person workforce is expected for Site C construction over a seven-year period.
BC Hydro plans to build two large work camps near the Site C site, but Collins
said the close proximity of Fort St. John means many workers will prefer to live in town.
A shortage of industrial land - BC Hydro is said to have bought up more than 200 acres - has pushed values to record levels.
Serviced industrial land with highway access is selling for between $300,000 and $500,000 an acre.
"This is up at least 15% from last year," Collins
Site C's concurrent federal approval decision from Minister of Environment Leona Aglukkaq
contains 80 legally binding conditions on BC Hydro if the province and utility decide to build the 1,100-megawatt hydroelectric dam.
Provincial approval contains 77 conditions, mostly related to community benefits.
said Fort St. John realtors are now awaiting "the real big decision": the expected approval of B.C.'s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant.
Pacific NorthWest LNG
, led by Malaysia-based Petronas
, is expected to decide on its $11 billion project later this year.
"Now that would be big news," Collins
said, "much bigger than Site C."