Building the Case

First a quick recap of figures that came under scrutiny in previous posts.

1. 12% “confirmed” economic growth: No supporting documentation or source for figure.

2.  Ski hill on track to hit 40000 users, stated in February 12 Mayor’s Musings: Roughly 16000 confirmed as visitor number at ski club AGM.  At no point in the season would visitor numbers been remotely extrapolatable to 40000.

Now back to business, care of Mayor’s Musings once again.  In the January 30, 2013 edition, Mayor Mann states:

“Building permits total in 2011-$25 million, 2012 $30 million…Permits in 2011 [sic] before election of this council in October $7 million (down from $21 million in 2007 de election year)”

The implication is that the previous council under Mayor Iris Callioux was responsible for a decline in growth in town and that the current council under Mayor Lorne Mann restored us to prosperity.

Is that the case?

In 2010, building permits totalled $11 804 271.  There are two places from which Mr. Mann may have garnered the $7 million figure.  The residential permit figure for 2010 is close.  However, the figures he uses to describe his years in office are the TOTAL permit values.

He may have meant that building permits year-to-date in October 2010 were sitting at $7 million.  Unfortunately, that figure cannot be corroborated.  It matters not though because he states it is down from $21 million the previous year, which is the TOTAL permit value.

Thus, the implication is that the TOTAL building permit value in 2010, the last year of the previous council, was $7 million.

Except that it wasn’t.

In fairness, there is a noticeable decline in permit values from 2007 when Lorne Mann was “de elected” and 2011, his first full year back in office.  It is implied this is due to a change in leadership.

Of course we’d be forgetting about the recession in 2008.

Statistics Canada keeps records of the building permit values for Canada as a whole and Alberta as a province, which I compiled and adjusted to constant 2013 dollars (to account for inflation).

When you chart these figures against one another, the graphs look surprisingly similar.  In fact, the correlation between Alberta building permit values and Peace River values is 0.82, which in the statistical world is pretty incredible.  The corresponding figure for Canadian values is 0.77.  The strong correlation is evidenced by the visual similarity of the two lines.

But correlation does not prove causation.

It is disingenuous to suggest that Peace River is a complete reflection of broader economic cycles and equally so to suggest that Mayor and Council are completely responsible for building permit values.

(For you stats junkies out there, running an unpaired two-sample t-test leads to a P-value of 0.78.  This means the difference in building permit values between Mayor Mann’s terms in office since 2001 and Mayor Callioux’s is most likely due to chance.)

In the post scheduled for tomorrow, we will dig deeper into this.

What about NUMBER of building permits granted?

What do we find when we look at only commercial and industrial permits?

And finally, how did Peace River fare during Iris Callioux’s term in office compared to Grande Prairie?

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One Response to Building the Case

  1. Pingback: Building the Case….Continued | Peace River Votes 2013

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