The North Okanagan continues to experience growth. The latest data from Statistics Canada indicates that the Regional District of North Okanagan's population in 2016 was 84,354 compared to 81,237 in 2011. "It's heading in the right direction," said Bob Fleming, RDNO chairperson, adding that the region has been able to pursue gradual growth instead of sprawl. The regional district and the communities all have growth plans and hopefully they are accommodating the growth occurring."
For Vernon, the population climbed from 38,180 to 40,116, while it went from 10,314 to 10,648 in Coldstream. In BX-Swan Lake, the population went from 3,041 to 3,203 and from 3,847 to 3,870 in BX-Silver Star. That brings Greater Vernon's total population to 57,837. That's pretty good growth," said Akbar Mund, Vernon's mayor. "It's not over-bearing for the community. It's nothing but a positive."
Between 2011 and 2016, Enderby's population went from 2,932 to 2,964 while the population for the Splatsin First Nation went from 390 to 316. In rural Enderby, the population went from 3,938 to 4,000.
In Armstrong, the population was 5,114 in 2016 compared to 4,830 in 2011, while for Spallumcheen, it went from 5,040 to 5,106. With Armstrong over 5,000, it will have to start paying more towards policing. "We have no idea of what it will mean," said Mayor Chris Pieper.
Statistics Canada reports that Lumby's population went from 1,731 in 2011 to 1,833 in 2016, while rural Lumby went from 2,848 to 2,672. Cherryville's climbed from 939 to 1,010.
The Okanagan Indian Band's population has gone from 2,673 to 2,944.
Fleming wants to review the data further to see who has moved to the region age-wise. "I hope young families are able to settle in the valley and make a living," he said, adding that the population growth allows the economy to expand and gives jurisdictions additional taxes. "Growth helps moderate the cost of services in the community." Piper points out that while the region's population increases, there are fewer students in local classrooms. "It's a big challenge," he said.
In the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District, the population for Falkland-Salmon River went from 4,047 to 4,044. In the Central Okanagan Regional District, Lake Country went from 11,708 to 12,922.
For the provincial perspective on population, go to http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/413150033.html