Published: February 15, 2017
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
The district’s population is in decline says new data release from the federal government.
Making public population and dwelling data from the 2016 Census last week, Statistics Canada says despite an increase in the Kenora District’s inhabitants, Red Lake and Ear Falls are each losing their residents.
In the Municipality of Red Lake the Census shows a 12 per cent population decrease having recorded 4,107 residents in 2016 compared to 4,670 in 2011.
Mayor Phil Vinet says the decrease stems from a decline in mining activity and exploration across the district since the previous survey.
“During the last census we didn’t have Rubicon so that was a wash but we did have diamond drills turning up the ying yang here. We don’t have that activity and we don’t have that spin off, whether it is the exploration crews or the construction that was going on in the area. We don’t have that now.”
Vinet says the figures don’t have an impact on tax revenue however social and economic factors are affected.
“It doesn’t affect the tax revenue because the buildings are still there. What it really affects is our social development and it touches our economic base outside of mining. It effects the mine supply chain. It affects the small businesses. It affects the volunteer rate.”
In Ear Falls the decrease was measured at 3 per cent with the township boasting 995 residents compared to over 1,000 in 2011.
“The biggest one that hits us is when we start loosing census data is that equates to households and tax dollars. It puts the burden on fewer people paying a bigger portion. It is not a trend you want to see,” said Mayor Kahoot discussing the data on Feb. 9.
Kahoot says much of the time captured in the data the local sawmill was not in operation and tourism was down, possibly explaining the loss of approximately 30 residents.
“I think that census was done on a downtime. We are in an upswing and I am interested to see where we go in a few years. I am optimistic that we are going to start going the other way because I have seen a few new faces in town here now.”
According to the Census the Kenora District has experienced over 13 per cent population growth swelling to 65,533 recorded in 2016.
Two in five Canadians lived in the 15 largest municipalities of the country, each representing at least one per cent of the total population says Stats Can.