The population in the Strathcona Regional District is growing, according to new numbers from the 2021 census released by Statistics Canada.
Overall, the population of the regional district is up 7.8 per cent since 2016. That year it was 44,671, and it reached 48,150 in 2021. Most of those people are living in Campbell River, which now has a population of 35,519. However, every community and rural area in the regional district saw growth, ranging from 2.3 per cent to 58.5 per cent.
“Growth is good for the area,” said SRD board chair Brad Unger. “Growth for the whole area means more kids in schools, more kids being active in minor hockey, softball, lacrosse and that kind of stuff.”
Besides the increase in family activity, Unger noted the economic benefit that an increase in population can lead to. That is particularly true thanks to increases in communications infrastructure including the SRD’s Connected Coast project. With better internet access, Unger said that people are seeing the potential to operate online home-based businesses or work remotely.
“It helps everybody as far as economic growth goes. More tax dollars for small municipalities, villages and rural municipalities,” Unger said. “For small rural communities with the connected coast project that’s coming in, we’re starting to see people coming to Gold River already doing home-based businesses on the internet. They’re anticipating it coming later on this year.”
While he was not surprised about the growth — BC Stats releases annual population estimates — Unger said that the construction and home sales in the various communities in the regional district also hinted at an increase.
While Tahsis saw the highest percentage growth, the highest absolute growth was in Campbell River, which has 2,512 more people than it did in 2016.
Beyond that, Area C, which includes Quadra Island, saw the most people move in with 306 new residents since 2016.
The population numbers per municipality in the regional district are:
– Campbell River: 35,519, up 7.6 per cent
– Gold River: 1,246, up 2.8 per cent
– Sayward: 334, up 7.4 per cent
– Tahsis, 393, up 58.5 per cent
– Zeballos, 126, up 17.8 per cent
Rural areas also saw an increase:
– Area A (Kyuquot/Nootka-Sayward): 864, up 13.1 per cent
– Area B (Cortes Island): 1,059, up 2.3 per cent
– Area C (Discovery Islands-Mainland Inlets): 2,737, up 12.6 per cent
– Area D (Oyster Bay-Buttle Lake): 4,153, up 4.4 per cent
Smaller designated areas including Indigenous communities saw various shifts in population since 2016. Numbers for 2021 are shown below:
– Ocluje: 29
– Houpsitas: 157
– Ehatis: 91
– Tsa’xana: 205
– Quinsam: 312
– We Wai Kum Reserve (Campbell River): 506
– Homalco: 214
– Cape Mudge: 145
– Klahoose Reserve (Tork): 60
Other designated places had a population listed of zero.