Municipal Census 2015 Report
The 2015 census was conducted April 1 through June 30, recording an overall population of 125,032. This figure — which comprises a traditional population count of 81,948 and a shadow-population count of 43,084 — has been approved by Alberta Municipal Affairs. The 125,032 overall population as of April 1, 2015, was an increase of 7.4 per cent over the population in 2012.
The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo conducts a census every two to three years to determine our population number, as well as other characteristics of our population. The last census was conducted in 2012.
Obtaining accurate population information through a census count is important for a variety of reasons:
- Determining how much grant money our municipality receives from the provincial and federal governments. More than $200 per person each year is received and used to fund projects that improve our community (e.g., providing heated bus shelters, road improvements, clean water, and municipal fire halls).
- Helping our municipality plan for the needs of our communities, including the number and location of schools, parks, transportation networks, utilities, and emergency services.
- Providing population information needed for the provision of health and human services in our region (e.g., by Alberta Health Services and Alberta Human Services).
- Providing demographic information to industry, community groups, businesses, and the social profit sector.
For each person counted in the municipal census, the municipality receives more than $200 in grant money from the provincial and federal governments. Here are a few examples of past projects that have been funded by these grants:
- Approximately 250 heated bus shelters were installed from 2011 to 2013. All of these bus shelters are wheelchair accessible, and provide heat with the push of a button.
- A new bike park is currently under construction, located near Ross Hennigar Park in Thickwood. This bike park features approximately seven kilometres of trails and will enable our community to host the Western Canada Summer Games.
- From 2012 to 2014, grant money funded the purchase of new transit buses for the route through Parsons Creek, as well as transit service to and from the Fort McMurray International Airport.
- Grant money is also used to fund replacement of municipal infrastructure, such as roads and sidewalks. With funding of over $200 per person, one neighbourhood can contribute 1.5 kilometres of paved roads or 5.7
kilometres of sidewalks.
- Two examples of significant projects funded in part by grant money in the rural communities include the Fort MacKay Bridge Replacement (completed in September 2014) and the Anzac Waste Water Treatment Plant (under construction since 2012).