by Tristan Turner
Morinville Mayor Lisa Holmes is calling the community’s nearly 10 per cent population increase over the past three years exciting, but said council will adhere to the previously passed Municipal Sustainability Plan “to support sustainable growth in our community.”
The Town of Morinville released the population number from the 2014 Census in a press release July 15. That information showed that since the 2011 federal census, Morinville has seen a 9.7 per cent population increase, resulting in a new population of 9,402, or an addition of 833 residents from the 8,569 who were recorded in 2011.
The data reveals an increase in Morinville’s population of nearly a quarter (23 per cent) over the last five years. These figures are about double the five-year province-wide growth rate and nearly four times the five-year national growth rate (using data between 2006 and 2011 with approximately an 11 per cent province-wide increase and a six per cent national increase). With an increase of 2,627 residents in the past eight years, Morinville has seen a 38.77 per cent increase in population in under a decade. If these trends continue, it points towards a near doubling of Morinville’s population over the next decade.
While excited about growth, Holmes also clarified that she sees Morinville as a “tight-knit community” and hoped to placate any concerns from residents who enjoy the benefits of living in a smaller community. “Council will continue to support initiatives that bring our community together,” Holmes said.
[SUBHEAD]Census receives considerable online support
The census was once again available online for the convenience of residents. Forty per cent of residents completed the survey online, and Mayor Holmes said this online initiative was created for both resident convenience but also to save census-gathering costs for the Town. The Mayor said the cost savings created by online data collection versus door-to-door data collection would be looked at when council returns from their summer recess in the Fall.
Although the savings to the community for online participation is yet to be revealed, so too has the benefits to the increased population numbers. During the 2011 Cencus, Morinville’s Chief Financial Officer Andy Isbister said each new resident represents approximately $325 in new grant funding for the Town. Mayor Holmes said the population growth “enables exciting new grant opportunities” from the provincial and federal government, opening up the Town to “fund more programs and services that fit the needs of our growing Town”.
A more detailed picture of the 2014 census, including demographics will be presented to Council at the Aug. 26 meeting.