Keith W Hern
Managing Broker, KH Realty Limited
Last week, Statistics Canada released the population and dwelling counts from the 2011 Census. A total of 33,476,688 Canadians were counted in May 2011, 5.9 percent more than were counted in May 2006.
British Columbia’s population grew by seven percent (7 percent), topping 4.4 million and exceeding the national average growth rate (5.9 percent) and second only to Alberta’s growth rate(10.8 percent). The fastest growing area in BC was the Central Okanagan (11 percent) with the majority of the increase being driven by Kelowna which had the fourth highest growth rate in Canada at 10.8 percent.
The East Kootenay recorded a population of 56,685 up 2.2 percent from 2006 with most of the municipalities showing solid growth; Canal flats (up 2.1 percent), Cranbrook (up 5.4 percent), Elkford (up 2.4 percent), Fernie (up 5.5 percent), Kimberly (up 8.4 percent), Sparwood (up 1.4 percent).
The Columbia Shuswap, with a population of 50,512 in 2011, showed a small increase of 0.7 percent from the population reported in 2006. With the exception of Salmon Arm that recorded a strong growth rate of 9.1 percent the population in all the other municipalities was down; Sicamous (down 8.8 percent), Revelstoke (down 1.3 percent), Golden (down 2.9 percent).
In Golden the population continues to decline. A total of 3,701 people were counted in May 2011 down from 3,811 in 2006 and 4,020 in 2001. In CSRD area A, Rural Golden, the population has declined to 3,065 compared with 3,097 five years ago.
Just over 80 percent of the population gain in BC was from migration. International migration accounted for most of the gain (65 percent) while interprovincial migration accounted for 15 percent. I think it is fair to say that Golden is not attracting its share of these migrants and all the efforts to do so in the past 10 years have fallen short.
Without innovative and proactive measures, Golden’s population will continue to decline and the housing market will continue to favour buyers.