Population drops to under 2000

Trent Ernst, Editor

“So, how many people live in Tumbler Ridge?”

The question is always a hard one to answer, as the population is always in a state of flux.

But once every five years, we get a figure that we can use, even if it is already a year out of date by the time it is released.

That figure? 1982.

That’s down 26.7 percent from the 2011 Census, when the population was 2700.

That’s the biggest drop in the country, and one of only two communities where the population dropped more than 20 percent, the other being La Crete, Alberta, which saw its population drop by 25.6 percent.

This bucks the general trend of the region, which overall saw its population to 69,542, up from 60,082 in 2011, a 3.1 percent increase.

Chetwynd also saw its population decrease five percent to 2,503, down from 2,635 five years ago.

Dawson Creek’s population rose five percent to 12,178, up from 11,583, while Fort St. John’s population climbed to 20,155, up 8.3 percent from 18,609 in 2011.

Hudson’s Hope population broke 1000, up to 1,015 from 970, while Pouce Coupe’s population climbed to 792, up from 738.

Tumbler Ridge also saw fewer houses occupied, with 861 private dwellings being lived in, down 25.6 percent from 2011.

Provincially, the population of BC rose 5.6 percent since the previous census, while overall the population of Canada rose 5 percent.

This is not good news for the town, as the results from the census are used to determine levels of funding for things like health care.

If the town finds the result too low, they can do their own audit and recount. This would cost the community hundreds of thousands of dollars, however, and most communities don’t bother.

In addition to federal and provincial government using the census results to determine levels of funding, many businesses use census results to determine if they will open in a community.

Tumbler Ridge’s small population count does mean that Tumbler Ridge continues to not have to pay for RCMP services, as communities under 5000 do not need to pay for policing services.

However, this is already starting to shift again, as people are returning to town with the re-start of the Brule and Wolverine Mines.