Bonnyville town council isn’t buying Stats Canada’s census numbers for a second, and they’re conducting a census of their own to prove it.
The 2016 census declared Bonnyville to have a population of 5,417, compared to 6,921 a municipal census from 2014 came up with. If the town does another census of their own, many departments in the provincial and federal governments would use that number instead, helping to secure grant money if it’s a higher figure.
“As long as the methodology is approved by Municipal Affairs, they use our numbers,” explained Mayor Gene Sobolewski at Tuesday’s council meeting. “There’s some programming in the federal government that would still use the federal census, but for Municipal Affairs and most of our funding, they would use whatever number we obtain from our own census.”
CAO Mark Power explained that many people might have been missed by Stats Canada by only going to residences a couple times before giving up. “If they’re on shift for twelve hours and you never go when they’re home, you’re never going to get them at home. If they don’t get anybody, they don’t get anybody and say nobody’s there, but we all know there is somebody living there.” Power said the town census would be much more persistent in making sure everyone is accounted for.
Mayor Sobolewski guesses the actual figure is probably something more in the ballpark of 65 to 66 hundred people. A much more moderate decline than the biggest one on the federal census’s books.