Census likely to show population increase

By Rachel Muenz

With the 2011 census underway, Meadow Lake and area residents will determine how much funding the area gets as well as how much taxes they’ll pay over the next five years.

Meadow Lake mayor Darwin Obrigewitsch said he expects this latest census to show an increase in population for the city, which is a double-edged sword.

“I would think that we’ll have an expanded population,” he said. “The more population that you have, the more dollars or area you have to work with.”

One negative of the city’s population going up, discussed at a city council meeting several weeks ago, is that Meadow Lake will likely need to pay more for policing but, on the upside, will have more control over RCMP services.

However, Meadow Lake won’t see any changes until census data is analyzed and then released some time next year.

Statistics Canada officials said most of the paper census forms for the area should be delivered by now with some forms coming late due to bad roads and other delays to the eight census workers in the Meadow Lake area and the over 40 in the surrounding region.

Those in town should have already received their secure access codes in their mailboxes for completing the census online or can request a paper form if they wish. Residents outside of town, who receive paper forms, can also choose to do the census online.

In the first two weeks of June, one in three households will be receiving the National Household Survey which contains 65 more in-depth questions to replace the long-form census all residents used to receive, Stats Canada officials said.

One official added the census is important for Saskatchewan as a whole as it helps determine the amounts of federal transfer payments to each province and is the only way to get detailed information about small communities.

“Census data is used by community planners to make important decisions about providing services to the people of their area,” said Sherry Wallace, communications manager for Stats Canada’s western region. “Census is also the only reliable source of information down to small population centres, whether we’re talking a small Indian reserve or rural municipality.”

Residents who haven’t received their census forms or secure access codes yet should phone the census hotline at 1-877-777-2011.

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