The District of Port Hardy saw a -5.6 decline in population from 2016 to 2021. (Gazette file photo)

Tri-Port communities show growth and loss in latest census population statistics

Port Hardy deals with 5.6 per cent decline in population, Port McNeill and Port Alice show growth

The 2021 census population statistics were released last week, and the numbers for the Tri-Port communities in the North Island may surprise you.

Port Hardy

Census population in 2006 – 3,822;

Census population in 2011 – 4,008;

Census population in 2016 – 4,132;

Census population in 2021 – 3,902;

There was a 5.6 per cent decline in population from 2016 to 2021.

“I was quite shocked to see our population drop by 230 people,” says Mayor Dennis Dugas. “Where did the 230 people go?”

He added the census numbers don’t make sense to him, as the district has “limited vacancies and all our houses are selling.”

Port McNeill

Census population in 2006 – 2,623;

Census population in 2011 – 2,505;

Census population in 2016 – 2,337;

Census population in 2021 – 2,356;

There was a 0.8 per cent growth in population from 2016 to 2021.

“19 [people] may not seem like a big jump but represents four to five families, nine couples or any combination of those, including singles,” says Mayor Gaby Wickstrom. “I am happy with the growth and look forward to many more migrating to our community and region.”

Port Alice

Census population in 2006 – 821;

Census population in 2011 – 805;

Census population in 2016 – 664;

Census population in 2021 – 739;

There was an 11.3 per cent growth in population from 2016 to 2021.

“It’s huge,” says Mayor Kevin Cameron. “It’s really good for our village considering where we were a few years ago” when the Neucel Specialty Cellulose pulp mill shut down for good. “We’ve got people moving into the area with their kids who are using the school system here and it’s just making us a richer community.”

Cameron added he feels things really started picking up in the village about three years ago, “and now we have a number of small businesses opening here.”

The Gazette will continue reporting on the 2021 census population statistics for the rest of areas inside the Mount Waddington Regional District later this week.


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