Prince Rupert population much higher than census

Krekic presented to council the summary of staff’s work in 2015, including a major finding that sees an increased population vs. BC Stats

The hurry up and wait is over.

The City of Prince Rupert Planning for Major Projects initiative has been working since early 2014 to envision what the greater Prince Rupert area will look like if up to 10,000 new and temporary workers came to the city.

City planner Zeno Krekic and city staff have completed various indicators – components that are crucial to the socio-economic makeup of the city and area. The boom in population would result from the construction of one or a number of industry projects, mainly new terminals coming online within the Port of Prince Rupert, such as LNG export facilities or an expanded container terminal.

Last Monday night, Krekic presented to council the summary of staff’s work in 2015 – a complete look at Rupert’s current population trends, housing data and land base evaluations, all referred to as ‘indicators’.

The message was clear: the waiting period is over to prepare for a booming forecast of this magnitude should any of the projects proceed.

“If 2014 was hurry up and wait, then 2015 was all about hurry up.  There was absolutely no wait whatsoever,” Krekic said as he presented his findings.

First, the population indicator presented findings that were extremely dissimilar from Stats Canada and even the Province of B.C.’s census results.

In 2011, Stats Canada’s census findings concluded that Prince Rupert had a population base of 13,052. In early 2015, BC Stats estimated that Prince Rupert’s population stood at 11,918, the lowest number in four years for the coastal city.

Anecdotal evidence and general observations led the City of Prince Rupert to believe that this was absolutely not the case. Not only was the population not declining, it was increasing, and at a steady rate.

So the City launched their Go Plan Survey and their Non-Market Housing Survey – both of which were scientifically driven to identify the number of people living in Prince Rupert and what kinds of living conditions and type of housing its residents currently reside in or need.

The results were in line with council’s predictions. Rupert’s population was found to sit at 13,766 – a significant increase in BC Stats’ 2015 findings by over 1,600 people. The increase was found to be due to a ‘shadow population’ that was not taken into account by Stats Canada or BC Stats.

As Krekic reported to council in August of last year and again on Jan. 11, this ‘shadow population’ made up of migrant workers will only increase as potential projects break ground.

“We had doubt on a continuous basis that … [the official stats] were correct … We finally conducted our own survey. Our numbers were just less than 14,000, so you’re looking at a difference between 10 and 15 per cent. Those are noticeable numbers that we should be mindful of,” said Krekic.

There was another reason why the City conducted their own tallies and it has to do with its land base (land that the City owns) and affordable housing – a topic that exploded last year with residents telling city council that there is not enough affordable housing for Prince Rupert residents.

Mayor and council took the information and numbers detailing availability of affordable housing in the city and are currently using it to persuade the B.C. government (the real agents in charge of affordable housing anywhere in B.C.) that there is a dire need for it in Prince Rupert.

But in order to get help from the B.C. government, the City is competing against places such as Surrey, which has had a consistent population boom of around 50,000 people. Rupert Mayor Lee Brain has noted that it is extremely tough to be a blip on the Province’s radar when all of B.C. is appealing for the same thing. But the baseline data produced by the Go Plan Survey will go a long way in convincing the Province that there is a significant need for low-income and seniors’ housing in town.

“We’re taking a leadership role, we’re working as fast as we can with the resources we have. This year we’re going to lock in,” said Brain.

In addition, Krekic noted that 2015 brought the most development permit applications (18), development variance permit applications (13) and zoning bylaw amendments (11) since 2009.

The City of Prince Rupert can only do so much. As Coun. Barry Cunningham noted, at some point, the Province needs to start paying attention. The good news for those seeking low-income or seniors’ housing is that the City’s Housing Committee plans to start its first development.

“We’re going to have a draft report by March … We’re really starting to make traction now with this piece,” said Brain.

Krekic will now work with city staff in the next eight to 10 weeks to combine the Planning for Major Projects initiative, the Official Community Plan, new zoning bylaws and affordable housing policy developments and create a final publication that can be presented to potential business developers and the Province.


Just Posted

Visitors to a pop-up temporary aquarium in Prince Rupert will have the chance to see marine ecology from July 21 to Aug. 15, like this viewer watching sea anemones at the Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Prince Rupert pop-up aquarium will bring sea level to eye level in July

A permanent peak to reef ecology centre is in the planning stages by North Coast Ecology Society

Prince Rupert’s Ellen Wright and Graeme Dickens jam out during filming the two Ring System Studio concerts to be broadcast on television during June. (Photo: supplied, H. Cox)
Ring System Studio sounds on television

Two concerts by the Prince Rupert music school will be broadcast in June

Commerical marijuana grow ops that are budding up in Prince Rupert’s downtown core are legal and out of the city’s jurisdiction, Mayor Lee Brain said, on June 14. (Photo:supplied/K-J Millar)
Prince Rupert downtown’s pretty dope

Marijuana operations grow in the Prince Rupert city core

Unionized longshore and port workers gather along Highway 16 on June 15 not crossing the picket line where Prince Rupert Solidarity Movement group protests the docking and unloading of the JPO Volans, a ship with Israeli designed technology and equipment. (Photo: K-J Millar/the Northern View)
Prince Rupert Solidarity Group pickets at port in protest

Demonstrations against the container ship JPO Volans lead into the second day to dissuade docking

BC Ferries has announced the welcoming back onboard of recreational travellers on June 15 after the provincial travel restrictions were lifted. (Courtesy of BC Ferries)
BC Ferries welcomes back recreational passengers

The ferries corp will relax mask-wearing in outdoor spaces

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read