The population of the Municipal District of Greenview is growing faster than expected. Based on a municipal census done earlier this year, it has added more than 800 residents in the past five years, more than half of which joined since the last federal census.

Based on a preliminary report, the MD’s population is now 6,044, up from 5,242 in 2013 and 5,583 in 2016. It doesn’t include the Towns of Valleyview, Fox Creek, and Grande Cache. Reeve Dale Gervais says they embarked on their own census to try to get a more complete picture than the numbers provided by the federal census two years ago.

“We suspected they weren’t as accurate as they could be,” he explains. “We anticipated that the number would be higher but I don’t think we figured that we would capture 800-and-some additional residents.”

The municipal census was conducted between April 30th and June 30th, both online and door-to-door, with an almost 99 per cent participation rate. Households were asked the age and gender of each resident, and Gervais says the gender breakdown in his own ward of Little Smoky is noteworthy.

“There is 319 males and 243 females. That’s quite a discrepancy,” he notes. “Other than Valleyview, which is only one off of a 50/50 break, all of the other wards are predominantly male with less females.”

Gervais believes that could be partly attributed to the capture of Greenview’s shadow population, as men working and renting in the rural area with families elsewhere would have been counted. He also attributes the rise in overall numbers to both more complete census results and people moving to the area.

“What we’re trying to do as a municipality is attract people to our area. We spent a lot of money in Valleyview, which services the rural area, by putting in the multiplex facility there, and that has been a draw to the Town of Valleyview and to the surrounding area.”

Grovedale is the largest ward with 1,463 residents, while Grande Cache is the smallest with 310 residents. Once finalized, Gervais says the results could lead to the restructuring of wards.

“We have eight wards and we will look at, I would assume, a consolidation of one or two wards – the lower population ones – to get the council representation more accurate.”

The confirmation of a higher population will also be used to get more grant funding. The MD says it gets $409 per capita in federal and provincial road, policing, social program, and other municipal service grants. An official report is expected to be released this fall.