Trail’s population lagging behind West Kootenay’s top towns

Trail is losing ground in the population race for first place in the West Kootenay.

Trail is losing ground in the population race for first place in the West Kootenay.

Although the latest figures from BC Statistics show the Silver City adding some bulk to its populace—rising .2 per cent to 7,283—it is dropping out of contention, behind the steady growth of second place Castlegar and the head start Nelson has, and remains as the region’s third largest community.

Although adding 18 people in the last year gives the city some growth, the Sunflower City has enjoyed steady growth since 2006—and grew by .5 per cent (42 people) in the last year—when the two centres were only 112 people apart with Trail at 7,248 and Castlegar at 7,360.

And, although Trail jumped to 7,365 in 2007 to 2008, it could not sustain that level and began to drop, bottoming out at 7,239 in 2010 before it began to slowly climb back up.

In February Statistics Canada reported Trail had a six per cent increase to 7,681 people living in the city last year, compared to 7,237 in 2006, while Castlegar was 7,816, rising from 7,259. Nelson went from 9,258 to 10,230.

There is a discrepancy between the two totals, but the B.C. Stats numbers were extrapolated from 2006 census figures, said Jackie Storen, director of demographic analysis with B.C. Stats, and were not based on the 2011 Statistics Canada Census.

B.C. Stats figures are adjusted for net census under coverage in 2006—then births, deaths and migration since the 2006 Census are added or subtracted—this accounts for the difference in what the census reported.

“We look at changes in hydro connections and MSP membership (Medical Services Plan) on a community by community basis and that gives us an idea of how communities are changing on an annual basis,” she said.

In January, 2014, the province’s totals will reflect the new census figures.

Throughout the Kootenay Boundary region Trail’s recent growth was behind only Fruitvale (up .6 per cent) and the unincorporated areas (rural) that rose by .6 per cent to 10,949.

However, Fruitvale’s influx amounted to 12 people in the last year, with the village moving to 2,035, still below its seven-year high of 2,049 in 2008. Other Greater Trail areas enjoyed minor increases—Montrose rising by .2 per cent (two people)—or decreases—Warfield dropping .2 per cent (four people).

Up on the mountain, the Golden City lost a bit of its luster as it fell by five people (.1 per cent) to 3,650 after steadily climbing from 3,278 over the last seven years. Stats Can reported that Rossland’s population jumped up by 8.5 per cent to 3,556 in 2011 from 3,278 in 2006.

Overall, the regional district population rose by 14 people to 31,887, but BC Stats recorded it as zero. It is down from the 32,149 people the district contained in 2009.

Grand Forks was the hardest hit Kootenay-Boundary community in losing 1.5 per cent of their population, or 57 people. The city has lost 427 people since 2008.

According to Statistics Canada, Fruitvale was up 3.3 per cent to 2,016 residents from 1,952; Montrose was up 1.8 per cent to 1,030 from 1,012 while Warfield sank by 1.7 per cent to 1,700 from 1,729. Overall, the Kootenay Boundary district population rose 1.3 per cent to 31,138 residents.

Nelson is still the largest West Kootenay community at 9,810, but had zero growth in the last year. In fact, the Heritage City has been up and down over the last seven years, hitting a high of 9,950 in 2009 before it began to drop.

The town of Creston was the only one to drop in the Central Kootenay Regional District at .4 per cent (19 people) while most places enjoyed marginal or no growth. Overall, the RDCK grew by .3 per cent (180 people) in the last year to 60,896.

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