INNISFAIL – The town’s population has received an unexpected boost to inch it closer to the 8,000 mark.
Town council was told at its regular meeting on Sept. 27 the Alberta government has discontinued the Municipal Affairs Population List and will now be using population estimates from the Office of Statistics and Information at Alberta Treasury Board and Finance.
Prior to this change, the official population was listed at 7,847, the same released in the 2016 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada. However, the new provincially recognized Innisfail population is now 7,957.
Coun. Gavin Bates said he wondered if other municipalities are experiencing this shift in population and if on average there has been increases.
“It would be interesting to know what we think our population really is,” said Bates.
Mayor Jim Romane wanted to know from Todd Becker, the town’s chief administrative officer, if there has been any population statistics released yet from Statistics Canada's 2021 Census.
“I believe it is coming out in 2023,” said Becker.
The interesting population discussion occurred while council was being presented a report from Erica Vickers, the director of corporate services, about the proposed 2022 budget from Parkland Regional Library, which provides library services for the town.
Vickers told council that for 2022 there was a zero-increase proposed to Innisfail per capita requisition. However, in calculating the municipal levy for 2022 there was a change in how our population is calculated, from the longstanding Municipal Affairs Population List to the Office of Statistics and Information at Alberta Treasury Board and Finance.
As a result, Innisfail taxpayers will see a slight increase in the requisition amount for services from Parkland Regional Library.
Town council agreed the requisition will be $68,032.35, an overall increase of $940.50 from the $67,091.85 it paid in 2021 and 2020.
Coun. Danny Rieberger, who is council’s current representative on the Parkland Regional Library Board, said there was no indication in the board’s budget projections there would be an increase due to population and that it was anticipated budgets will “average out” throughout their jurisdiction.
“I did attend this budget presentation from the Parkland board through Zoom and they have been working very diligently to maintain the requisition,” said Rieberger.
“They just moved into their new building (in Lacombe) this year and they are doing some upgrades on computers and vehicles, and they are still managing to maintain this. They are working diligently to keep their costs down.”