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Canada census says Port Moody is shrinking. Mayor says just wait

Port Moody the only city in Metro Vancouver that didn't grow in the past five years.
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The completion of several new redevelopments will boost Port Moody's population significantly in time for the next census says the city's mayor.

Port Moody isn’t shrinking says the city’s mayor.

It just hasn’t started growing — yet.

Rob Vagramov says Statistics Canada’s 2021 census population report that shows the city lost 16 residents since 2016 is a "lagging indicator" that doesn’t yet reflect new developments that are set to boost the number of residents by at least 50 per cent by 2041.

According to figures released Wednesday (Feb. 9), 33,535 people called Port Moody home in 2021 compared to 33,551 six years ago.

"Our next census is going to show a big step up versus the last one," Vagramov said.

"The many construction projects underway across our city have put us well on our way."

Some of those projects include new rental buildings just opening on St. Johns Street and Dewdney Trunk Road that are comprised of more than 500 new apartments, as well as the recently approved redevelopment of the city’s Woodland Park neighbourhood that could bring approximately 4,000 new residents over the next 15 years.

The redevelopment of Coronation Park into a dense community of six residential towers up to 31 storeys is set to go to a public hearing in the coming weeks.

And the city continues to work with a consortium of property owners and developers on a transformation of its downtown that could add more than 4,000 new homes around the Moody Centre SkyTrain station.

While Port Moody lost residents in the past five years, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam grew, as did the semi-rural enclaves of Belcarra and Anmore.

Coquitlam’s 2021 population of 148,625 is 6.7 per cent more than the 139,284 residents who lived in the city in 2016, while Port Coquitlam added 2,886 new residents, bringing its current population to 61,498.

Vagramov has previously conceded in council discussions that growth outside Port Moody is increasing pressure on some of its infrastructure like roads.

But, on Thursday (Feb. 10), he said the city has to also ensure its own house is in order to accommodate more residents in the coming years.

"We also need to be honest about the huge impending cost of growth to our taxpayers," he said.

"Development proposals don’t even begin to cover the big necessary expansions to police, fire and rescue, parks and recreation services and so forth that come with substantial population increases."

Wednesday’s release of population figures was the first of several such data dumps scheduled by Statistics Canada over the next several months.

The next is set for April 27, when figures will look at Canada’s shifting demographic profile.

Port Moody was the only city of the 21 municipalities that comprise Metro Vancouver that didn’t grow in population since 2016.

And while the number of residents shrank, the city did add 494 new private dwelling units since 2016. That compares to an additional 2,734 new units in Coquitlam and 787 new units in Port Coquitlam.