Population flat or dipping in Parksville Qualicum Beach

B.C. Statistics 2014 estimates have Parksville population up 0.6 per cent and Qualicum Beach's declining 0.5 per cent

The population in Parksville and the surrounding rural areas increased slightly, by 0.6 and 0.9 per cent respectively, while the population in Qualicum Beach dipped by 0.5 per cent.

As of 2014 Parksville’s population was 12,227, Qualicum Beach came in at 8,500 and the surrounding areas cumulatively recorded a population of 39,085 which includes Deep Bay/Bowser, Coombs/Errington, Nanoose Bay, French Creek, Cedar and Pleasant Valley.

The numbers come from B.C. Statistics 2014 Sub-Provincial Population Estimates, a report that came out in January stating the province grew as a whole by 1.1 per cent or 49,000 people.

B.C. Statistics director Jackie Storen said the two biggest factors affecting population booms and dips are natural change (birth and death rate) and migration.

“Rural communities seem to be getting smaller while metropolitan areas are getting larger,” said Storen. “People want better access to education, jobs and healthcare.”

According to the report, neighbouring city Nanaimo grew by 1.5 per cent reaching a population of 88,869.

Storen explains B.C. Statistics’ population estimates are based on hydro connections and health client registry. “Within Canada it’s really the job and where you can find work which will push people to go and live somewhere.”

Parksville Mayor Marc Lefebvre echoed Storen’s comments that population is intimately linked to the economic cycle.

“The economy is in a state of suspended animation in terms of growth and interest rates,” Lefebvre told The NEWS. “It (population) is related to what we have in terms of employment.”

Given the mild climate and natural beauty of the region, he said retirees will likely continue to relocate to the area but he wants to encourage a younger generation to consider moving here as well.

“While I’m mayor one of the things I’d like to do is work with the Chamber of Commerce to see if we can get other non retirees to move here, people who want to set up small businesses,” said Lefebvre. “With the downtrend in Alberta, people are going to be coming back here and it would be nice if we could get them to stay.”

Regional District of Nanaimo chair Joe Stanhope said population fluctuation is “hard to explain.” Stanhope, who represents French Creek, said the region is seeing an increase in population because French Creek is “one of the most, if not the most, urbanized electoral area in the province” as it’s sandwiched between Parksville and Qualicum Beach.

He said as people retire they tend to gravitate to urban centres in an effort to be closer to services and shopping.

“After this past winter in Eastern Canada there’s going to be a lot more people looking west in my opinion,” he said, noting record-breaking snowfalls on the other side of the country. “And look what we have here…this is a pretty neat community.”

Qualicum Beach Mayor Teunis Westbroek was also asked for comment regarding the population statistics.

“I don’t see the preservation of our small-town atmosphere as competing with growth, however; growth that does occur needs to be compatible with our quality of life,” Westbroek wrote in an e-mail to The NEWS. “Our long term approach, as per our OCP, in the long term is about quality of life that will drive our economy and population growth. I consider the population statistics for last year as a minor fluctuation in our long-term plan which will see a build out to approximately 12,000.”

According to B.C. Statistics, Surrey is the municipality that attracted the most newcomers in the 2014 year. Lake Country, Fort St. John and Sechelt also topped the list. On the other end of the spectrum Saanich, Prince Rupert and Smithers showed some of the fastest rates of decline.

Just Posted

Parksville swimmer shatters four world records

Nicholas Bennett, 16, shines on world stage

Errington mill closes, approximately 50 workers lose their jobs

Family-owned operation was open for 30 years

Bag of cocaine left in Parksville Qualicum Beach grocery store aisle

RCMP: ‘We sure would like to talk to’ person who left drugs behind

Parksville council: High-traffic area no place for a car wash

Councillor also voices concern 24-hour operation could be disruptive to nearby nursing home

Corcan-Meadowood group unhappy with regional district

Staff recommends proposed community centre be scrapped

VIDEO: Rockslide closes Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Oscar Hickes: Longest running hockey tournament on Vancouver Island cancelled

Patrick Murray, one of the organizers for the tournament, broke the sad news on social media.

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Trustees ask for more help after tearful meeting on B.C. school’s ‘toxic’ stench

Enforcement has ‘no teeth,’ school trustee says, while kids become sick

One of B.C’s last surviving strip clubs baring all again for Christmas charity

25th annual event is Sunday and raises money for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

University of Victoria researchers develop industry-changing ‘hyper-glue’

‘Cross-linking’ technology already playing a role in performance body armour

Threats to the Fraser River at ‘new zenith,’ says river conservationist

The ‘Heart of the Fraser’ should be deemed ecologically significant according to ORC statement

Most Read