The mayor of Altona is encouraged by the solid construction activity happening in his community.

Al Friesen says despite the pandemic situation in 2020, the town had an excellent year when it comes to residential construction compared to the year previous.

New housing starts rose from 14 last year to 36 this year representing a $3.5 million dollar increase over 2019.

"Most of that activity was happening in the southwest and northwest corners of the community. So, it's something to be enthused about ... and things are moving in the right direction."

Meanwhile, commercial construction in Altona was up by almost $3 million from last year at this time, much of that anchored by a major expansion of Sun Valley Co-op's food store in Altona.

Commercial activity increased in value from $3.6 million in 2019 to $6.4 million at the end of November this year.

"So overall, pretty close to $14 million compared to $8.4 million the previous year. That's an increase of about 60 per cent or $5 million."

Friesen feels the town and the surrounding municipality of Rhineland has the potential to continue that kind of commercial growth into the future.

"Rhineland Municipality and Altona have invested in trying to spur that. We have jointly invested in SEED and there's also the role played by the RPGA Planning District which all work hand-in-hand to create what we hope is a positive climate that will attract businesses."