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Town to take on summer census

Census takers will go door to door in Banff in June in an attempt to collect information about every person living in the national park townsite.

Census takers will go door to door in Banff in June in an attempt to collect information about every person living in the national park townsite.

This will be the fourth municipal census since the Town of Banff incorporated as a municipality in 1990 and will come hot on the heels of the federal census in May.

Officials say accurate census information is critical to Town of Banff municipal operations and has a direct bearing on grant funding opportunities and long-range planning initiatives.

They say information collected in the 2011 municipal census will provide the Town of Banff with information required to review and develop future plans, policies and programs.

“The municipal census is scheduled for June after the federal census,” said Randall McKay, Banff’s manager of planning and development. “We are required to file the most updated census for purposes of grant funding.”

The last federal census in 2007 was steeped in controversy, as federal enumerators put Banff’s population at about 2,000 less than a previous federal census.

It forced the Town to immediately conduct a census of its own. The municipal count put the population in 2007 at 8,721 – 7,437 permanent residents and 1,284 non-permanent residents.

The federal census released earlier that year put the town’s population at 6,700, a 6.1 per cent drop from five years earlier, when Statistics Canada counted 7,135 people.

The federal miscount could have cost the municipality close to $600,000 in grant funding.

The Town of Banff is now in the process of soliciting proposals from qualified contractors or consultants to conduct an official census of Banff residents in June.

The census is to cost no more than $35,000.

Town administrators want to see the census information in their hands no later than Aug. 11 and a final report will be presented to council on Aug. 15.

The process for a federal versus municipal count is quite different in methodology.

“The shadow population is counted in a municipal census, not in the federal census,” said McKay.

“We’re allowed to consider the shadow population. We have permission to do that.”


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