Since the last time the city’s population was counted in 2011, our numbers have grown by 24 per cent. The results of this spring’s municipal census have been announced, and Grande Prairie has grown from 55,032 people 68,556.
Growth projections for 2015 had put that number closer to 60,000. Mayor Bill Given says he was quite surprised by the actual number.
“During the course of the census there was a point where we were looking to get over the 60,000 population number. Even those of us here in city hall who were making predictions, I think our high bets were all in the 65,000 range, so to see a number that’s closer to 69,000 is very incredible.”
The new number still has to be considered and approved by the Minister of Municipal Affairs. Given says they city will have to provide the results of the census to the province by September.
“After the minister accepts those numbers they’ll become our official number and not until that time. It won’t be until after the minister accepts those numbers that we would start to see some change to grant programs and other things.”
Not only does the growth of more than 13,000 since 2011 bump Grande Prairie up from the 7th largest city in the province to the 5th largest, it also makes the city eligible for more grant funding. Given says that is money they would not be able to qualify for had they not decided to go ahead with the census.
“Based on the provincial grant programs that we receive on a per capita basis, when all of those grant programs recognize our new number- which is not saying they will immediately- that $2.7 Million will be the added amount that we will receive.”
The survey also determined that Grande Prairie continues to be one of the country’s youngest cities, with an average population under 30 years of age.