The population of the Tri-Cities rose a relatively sluggish 3.8% over the past five years — one of the lowest growth rates in the Lower Mainland, according to 2006 Census figures released yesterday (Tuesday).
The Statistics Canada numbers show the local head count went up 7,236 — from 189,989 residents in 2001 to 197,225 residents in 2006 — with Anmore’s population jumping the fastest. In that village, growth swelled 32.8%, with 441 more residents.
“Anmore has an option that may not be available elsewhere and that’s to live in a semi-rural area within striking distance of high density,” Mayor Hal Weinberg said. “I think that option is what a lot of people are looking for.”
With an expanded tax base come additional costs for staff and infrastructure, Weinberg said, noting Anmore’s official community plan calls for a maximum of 4,000 residents — twice as many as it has now.
Port Moody placed second on the growth chart, with an increase of 15.5%, or 3,696 more residents.
Next was Port Coquitlam, which saw a rise of 2.8%, or 1,430 more residents, while Coquitlam posted a 1.5% hike, with 1,675 more residents.
But in Belcarra, which is nearly built out compared with neighbouring Anmore, the village had a decrease of 0.9%, dropping from 682 to 676 residents over the five-year period.
Mayor Ralph Drew said he has a hard time believing the data and believes the slight drop won’t affect future funding requests from senior levels of government.
“It’s not a big thing,” he said.
The StatsCan report indicates Canada’s population increased 5.4%, to 31 million residents — the first time since 1991 the growth rate has gone up. The acceleration is due to higher levels of new Canadians over the past five years, the report states.