Mayor Not Worried About Population Decline
Prince George, B.C. – Mayor of Prince George, Lyn Hall is not worried about the latest stats which indicate the population of Prince George slipped by 637 people last year.
According to B.C. Stats, the drop represents a decline of 0.9%, to 73,590.
“We’ve hit a bit of a plateau” says Mayor Hall, “I don’t see us losing any more, I think we’ve hit a bit of a plateau at that number, the job is to increase it, to draw people back to Prince George. We’re seeing what’s happening in Alberta and maybe there’s an opportunity for those skilled workers to come back to Prince George.”
Certainly “Come home to B.C.” is the message Premier Christy Clark has been sending to those working in the troubled oil patch of Alberta, but Mayor Hall says no one will come home if there is no work to come to “They aren’t going to come back just because they want to come back to Prince George, there needs to be employment”.
Mayor Hall is optimistic there will be new jobs here to bring those folks home “From my perspective, I hope that what is on the horizon for Prince George this year, will provide that skilled labour need and they will see an opportunity.” He says he is pretty positive about what’s going on in the community “In the month and a half, the developers I’ve met and the people who want to come to develop not just housing, but commercial opportunities, I’m very excited about it, and that’s why I’m optimistic.”
Reduced population can be costly in terms of reduced transfer payments , but Mayor Hall says the local economy takes a hit as well, “Every time we lose in population, you lose that disposable income. Those folks leave town and they had discretionary spending, you know they were buying vehicles, they were going out to restaurants, so you lose that in your economy.”
In addition to the good news the Mayor expects will roll out from proposed developments in the City, School District 57 is finally seeing its enrollment level off. At the recent budget amendment discussion, Chair Tony Cable commented ““The Board is encouraged that our funded school-age enrollment is virtually unchanged from the 2013-2014 school year after many years of declining enrollment.”
Here’s how some of the other communities in the region shaped up in 2014 when it comes to population numbers compared to 2013:
Quesnel 9,806 an increase of 0.1%
Williams Lake 11,003 an increase of 0.5%
Mackenzie: 3,538, an increase of 0.7%
Regionally, Peace River had the most significant growth among regions in the province, with a 2.9% increase.
The provincial population total was up 1.1% last year over 2013, with the total population estimated to be 4,621,302