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Kelly says Population Growth Flattering, But Costly
(Tuesday, March 12/2002)-- The latest increased census figures for Halifax Regional Municipality are flattering, but they clearly illustrate the tremendous demands on the municipality to not only provide new services, but to better maintain existing infrastructure, Mayor Peter Kelly said today.
Mayor Kelly said the 2001 Census released by Statistics Canada today show the population of HRM increased to 359,183 persons. That's an increase of 4.7 per cent or 16,217 persons, which was the largest increase of any county or town in Nova Scotia. Only one other county, Hants County, showed an increase.
However, Mayor Kelly cautioned that while it is encouraging to see HRM's population growing, that should not be interpreted to mean that the municipality is "flush with money" or experiencing a financial bonanza.
"More people, mean more services. And more services, cost more money. There is also the expectation, rightly or wrongly, that the service level must be considerably higher in HRM, compared to other areas, and that is difficult to manage," he said.
The latest Census show four major population growth areas in HRM. They include Clayton Park West/Glenbourne-- 73.8 per cent increase or 3,320 persons; Crestview/Paper Mill Lake -- 54.7 per cent or 1,638 persons; Hammonds Plains (including areas such as Kingswood and Glen Arbor)-- 48.2 per cent or 3,292 persons; and Cow Bay area-- 24.4 per cent or 878 persons.
The four major growth areas showed an overall population increase of 9,128 persons. However, the total HRM population increase was 16,217 persons, so the remaining 7,089 persons are dispersed among other communities outside of these high growth areas.
Mayor Kelly said "When you consider phenomenal population increases such as these, it's not hard to understand the reason why we have rapidly mounting traffic congestion problems. Many of these new residents live in the mainland areas, but a great per centage still travel onto the Peninsula to work or enjoy other activities. That puts increased pressure on our existing infrastructure. We've got to start looking at a new transportation strategy, and the solutions are going to cost more money."
The Mayor said the population increase also underscores the need to begin construction on the Harbour Solutions Project as soon as possible.
He said the new statistics will be very helpful to the HRM Regional Planning process, by confirming the major growth areas and by using those population trends to forecast future growth areas.
Mayor Peter Kelly