Sylvan Lake made waves in national and provincial news outlet headlines this past week as it was announced the town has experienced a 19.9% municipal population growth rate since the 2011 Federal Census.
The 2011 Federal Census saw a recorded population of 12,762 residents calling the town home with a reported population of 14,816 in 2016.
The rise in residents over the past five years makes Sylvan Lake the fastest growing agglomeration in Canada according to the 2016 Census.
Mayor Sean McIntyre stated it was encouraging to see the news picked up across Canada.
“Sylvan Lake is a very desirable community,” said Mayor McIntyre. “If you look at the beautiful natural setting we are in, the sense of community we have which is evident in our volunteerism and the community pride people take – it’s really no surprise to the people who call Sylvan Lake home that more people wish to do the same.”
With the population continuing to rise, the Town of Sylvan Lake has concrete plans in place to address future growth with Mayor McIntyre explaining the municipality has been preparing for the growth steadily over the last decade.
“We’ve been planning for this type of growth for the last several years,” said McIntyre. “A few years ago we looked at the way we plan our neighbourhoods, the way we plan our future infrastructure and maintain our current infrastructure and it’s great to now see those plans come to fruition to make sure we are prepared for that growth so we can make sure our community is healthy and complete moving into the future.”
With a young population and the average age of residents being 32 years of age, the Town has underwent a number of measures to ensure the municipality is accommodating to young families.
“Sylvan Lake is a great place to raise a family and we are consistently seeing young families choose to move here,” said McIntyre. “I think it has a lot to do with the sense of community which exists here. We’ve got wonderful opportunities here for recreation and to be involved in the community through local service groups. But even more so we have a naturally beautiful atmosphere that I think helps to attract and retain people.”
He added, although Sylvan Lake’s population is nearing the 15,000 mark the town still maintains the small town feeling which is appealing to many young families. The mayor expects the current economic circumstances seen across the province will have an affect on growth in the short term, however he anticipates the population will steadily rise at a significant pace.
“I look at the recent land annexations as evidence of that,” said Mayor McIntyre. “We have numerous subdivision outline plans submitted by local developers and Sylvan Lake continues to be an attractive place to call home. So with those factors I do see more growth in the future.”
He anticipates infrastructure such as the NexSource Centre and the upgrades to the David Thompson Health Centre will also play a role in future growth.