Sylvan’s official population 13,015; hundreds could be missing

Rapid growth has continued in Sylvan Lake, according to the most recent count of residents.

Rapid growth has continued in Sylvan Lake, according to the most recent count of residents.

It also remains a young community with 54 per cent of the population under 35, 25 per cent of that figure 16 or under.

In the two year period since the last federal census, the town’s population has increased 5.6 per cent or 688 residents to a new official total of 13,015.

However that’s still lower than the number of people actually living in the community.

A report presented to council Monday night stated “357 residences were not included in the census as no contact could be made by enumerators or through direct mailing to the residence. This represents 5.3 per cent of the population as uncounted.”

Marilee Littmann told councillors that of these homes, 19 per cent were in two specific condominium and apartment complexes “where tenancy lists could not be obtained from owners or property managers and all methods utilized to obtain statistical information were unsuccessful”. The buildings were the Woodsmere Holdings Corp. apartment buildings on Hinshaw Drive and the Sommerset Condos on Lakeway Boulevard.

The discrepancy in the figure could mean there are 600-700 more people living in Sylvan Lake than the official count will indicate, suggested Mayor Susan Samson.

Sylvan Lake’s last official population was 12,327 as determined in the 2011 federal census.

The census was meant to count the people residing in Sylvan Lake on April 19. Twelve enumerators started a door-to-door campaign in 36 areas May 1st and were given a month to complete the task. Residents were also able to answer census questions online, something which 23 per cent of the population used.

In her report to council June 10th, Betty Osmond, the town’s chief administrative officer, stated enumerators would be working to the end of the June 15-16 weekend to complete the last 560 homes remaining uncounted. “An area of concern is apartments and condos where enumerators have struggled obtaining access.”

After the work of enumerators was complete Littmann and town staff worked diligently to reduce the number of uncounted residences, sending letters to registered property owners.

Work on the census was finally concluded last Wednesday.

More complete details from the census will be presented to councillors at their August meeting.

In the meantime, the town will file an affidavit with Alberta Municipal Affairs prior to the September 1st deadline, confirming the new population which is used by provincial government departments in determining how much the town receives in grant money each year.