The last couple years have been rough for many in the Drumheller area as oil prices sank and service companies started to leave the valley.
Despite what has to be seen as a downward trend economically, at least one area is looking up.
Drumheller recorded a ten per cent increase in the value of building permits taken out in 2016 over the previous year, most of it for new residential housing.
"You're seeing a trend out there with a couple of subdivisions that started up in 2016 between Hillsview II and Riverside Estates," pointed out Paul Salvatore, the town's Director of Community Services. "Those are definitely a good sign that houses are getting built and people are looking for houses that are new on the market."
Commercial and industrial permit activity was very low, with the biggest project probably an improvement to a bulk gas bar. However, Salvatore feels that could change this year.
"We always are in Drumheller balancing between what's available for housing with trying to relocate or enhance businesses that are here in terms of their viability," he pointed out. "Everytime you see new construction it's usually a good indicator that good things are happening."
"We do expect those two residential subdivisions to continue with positive growth," he predicted. "Just indicators out there, overall in economics, suggest to me that 2017 may be a good time for turning the corner for a lot of things in our area."