Terrace, B.C.’s population pushed above 12,000 by transient workers

Study commissioned by city shows that BC Stats numbers were wrong, says Terrace B.C. Mayor

A population count commissioned by the City of Terrace shows almost 1,000 more people live here than estimated by the provincial government.

The study by Hannes Edinger of Big River Analytics surveyed 295 residences and his final estimate based on the count was 11,948 people living in Terrace.

This is in contrast to the provincial BC Stats agency figure of 11,265 generated for 2014.

Big River also gave an estimate of the transient population which, when included, put the number of residents at 12,494.

That transient or shadow population is further divided into two categories – “soft”  for those living here who have a residence elsewhere but have not worked for 30 days in the last year and “hard” for those who have worked here more than 30 days in the last year but who have a residence elsewhere.

There are 244 of the soft and 302 of the hard shadow members estimated to be living in Terrace.

The higher numbers confirm the casual estimates of city staff and also residents who have noticed more activity in town.

“They are just using a formula to state the population for the Terrace area,” said mayor Carol Leclerc of the BC Stats population count, after the Dec. 15 committee of the whole meeting where Edinger described the method.

“It wasn’t surprising, it was more frustrating,” Leclerc said. “Because, you know, people can’t find places to rent and we saw lineups at the four-way stop backed up onto the bridges.”

“We’ve got evidence that it’s not correct,” Leclerc continued of the BC Stats estimate. “So we want to share that information with the government, especially when they keep saying we are not a growing area.”

The city hopes this will translate into more accurate projections of growth and better decisions about how much money the province should provide for social services and health care.

The study also included complex projection for population growth.

In the low development scenario, with no LNG and a single alfalfa protein extraction plant at the Skeena Industrial Development Park, the population of Terrace “increases to 13,079 people by 2020, and to 13,181 by 2025.”

With a medium scenario, with LNG facilities in Rupert and Kitimat and 10 manufacturing plants at the Skeena Industrial Development Park, Terrace’s population increases quickly to 17,899 people in 2020 before declining slightly to 17,714 people in 2021 as construction workers would leave. The medium development scenario sees the population of Terrace resume growth after 2022 to 19,363 people in 2025.

In the high development scenario, Terrace’s population increases to 23,098 people in 2020, and reaches 27,889 people in 2025 based on maximum development.