TERRACE Mayor Dave Pernarowski says he’s happy the city’s population has inched up.
Based on last week’s release of 2011’s census data, the city’s population is 11,486, a modest 1.5 per cent increase over the 2006 census figure of 11,320 people.
“The numbers should keep on growing. We want our community to grow,” said Pernarowski.
He said the establishment of Terrace as a regional services centre for industrial projects to the south and to the north make it a desirable place to live and to do business.
“I think the population will grow in the coming years,” Pernarowski added of city efforts to attract people and business.
Terrace was the only large population centre in the northwest to grow between 2006 and 2011, indicate the census figures released by Statistics Canada.
Kitimat’s population dropped from 8,987 to 8,335 from 2006 to 2011, a decrease of 7.3 per cent.
The population in Prince Rupert also dropped. The census of 2006 listed that city’s population at 12,815 and it is 12,508 according to the 2011 census. That’s a decline of 2.4 per cent.
To the east, Smithers added 187 residents in the last five years, rising to a population of 5,404 for a growth of 3.6 per cent.
Despite growth between 2006 and 2011, Terrace’s population continues to drag behind the numbers of a decade or more ago.
In 2001, the city’s population was 12,109 and in 1996 it was 12,783 – a full 1,297 more people than today.
The years from 1996-2001 marked a collapse of the regional sawmill and pulp industry thanks to the bankruptcy of Skeena Cellulose, the effects which were felt through the following decade.
Curiously, Terrace’s modest growth from 2006 to 2011 came during a period when West Fraser shut its Eurocan pulp mill in Kitimat in 2009, a move that wiped out 525 jobs in the area.
That closure may also help explain some of Kitimat’s population drop between 2006 and 2011.
Overall, the country’s population grew 5.9 per cent from 2006 to 2001. In terms of numbers, the population went from 31.612 million in 2006 to 33.476 million in 2011.
Census officials also said the western Canadian population is growing thanks to people moving from eastern Canada.
Immigration is also helping to boost the country’s numbers.