The Village of Valemount’s population has remained nearly constant from 2006 to 2011, gaining just two residents to bring the total to 1020, according to numbers released by statistics Canada today. The Village of McBride’s population, however has decreased by 11 per cent, or 74 people, from 660 down to 586.
Over the past 10 years, McBride has had a net loss of 125 people. In the same time period, Valemount has gone down 223. Valemount saw the bigger losses between 2001 and 2006.
The steady numbers in Valemount came as a big surprise to many people who were certain the community had lost population after the mill shut down – which happened after the 2006 census. Other people point out while the population remains relatively constant, many people who have a permanent address in the valley have sought higher-paying work in Alberta to pay the bills.
Interestingly, the number of private dwellings in McBride has gone up by 70 units, to 312 from 272. In Valemount the number of private dwellings has gone up 74, from 518 to 592. This partly reflects a broadening of the census study area by 0.21 km2 in both Valemount and McBride. It may also point to a growing number of vacant properties and new second homes in the area.