March 1st, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 9
Census: Crowsnest Pass population increases by 0.4 percent since 2011
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Pass Herald Reporter
Newly released census data from Statistics Canada shows that the Crowsnest Pass population increased from 5,565 in 2011 to 5,589 in 2016. The census, released on Feb. 8, disclosed population and dwelling counts only.

According to Patrick Thomas, Director of Development, Engineering & Operations with the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass, the town has been experiencing a repetitive declining population over the past five federal censuses, or 25 years, so while small, it is still on a positive note to see the increase.

The census showed also that 2,567 private dwellings are occupied by usual residents, while the total number of dwellings sits at 3,225. Thomas attributes the difference in dwellings to non-permanent residents of the area.

“There is a limited amount of dwellings that are vacant homes, but we believe that a large portion is what we consider part-time residents, that their primary residence is elsewhere and they come here on weekends or off-and-on,” he says.

Thomas also highlights the correlation between the number of utility accounts and a population higher than indicated in the census. The municipality has approximately 2,900 residential utility accounts, and when considering that the average household has 2.5 residents, it brings up the population number to approximately 7,500 residents.
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“It’s probably realistic to say that we have 1,500 to 2,000 part-time residents in the community,” he says. “Where that is significant is we’re still providing services to those residents even though they’re not captured as our population.”

Thomas says this poses concerns when the municipality is applying for grants, as the eligibility and grant amount are based on the town’s fixed population and therefore does not take into account the part-time residents.

“So we are attributed to have a fixed population of 5,600. However, that’s not a realistic population that we’re actually supporting,” says Thomas.

The data released Feb. 8 covers total population and dwelling counts only. Details on population age and sex, income, immigration and other topics enquired during the census will be released in stages at later dates.

Thomas says the municipality is interested to see the information as it is released.

“We’re interested to see more information on the demographics,” he says. “We have had a historically aging population here, but we are observing that there are younger families in the community, so we want to see if the census supports those observations.”
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The census is important to the municipality because it helps plan what services to offer to the community. To better anticipate the needs of the community, the municipality has discussed whether to launch a municipal census in the 5-year interim between the federal censuses.

“It doesn’t have to be as broad, but we could collect some of that information,” says Thomas. “It’s something that a lot of municipalities do because those numbers are not only used for programs, but you can also use them for grant submissions. That’s something that we’ll be considering moving forward, but nothing is in the plans yet.”

According to Statistics Canada, the country’s total population has increased by over 1.5 million, or 5%, since the last census in 2011, from 33.5 million to 35.2 million in 2016.
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March 1st, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 9
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