Clinton’s mayor is taking issue with the latest Census numbers, which show an 11.4 per cent population drop in the South Cariboo village.
Susan Swan told the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board last week that she disagrees with the latest figures, which suggest Clinton recorded just 568 residents in last year’s Census, down 73 from 2016.
“I don’t agree with the numbers for Clinton, they’re telling us we lost 11.4 per cent of our population,” Swan said. “With the housing crisis we have here and the number of new families in the community, I don’t believe that.”
Clinton has seen significant growth in the past two years, she noted, with both retirees and young families moving to the community. Real estate sales have also been booming, as people take advantage of the area’s improved internet services to do their jobs remotely.
Yet even with some residents moving into Clinton’s new seniors’ residence, the vacancy rate remains at zero, as their homes were sold quickly.
“I don’t know what we can do about this because these are the numbers we are stuck with until 2026,” Swan said. “We have a family of five who has lived in town for a number of years whose house has been sold and they’re desperately looking for a place to rent and there’s nothing.”
Swan said she has heard from local Census takers in town that many residents either wouldn’t answer their doors or refused to do the Census, partly because they didn’t want to give the government more information.
However, she said this could have ramifications for the town, as the Census numbers are used to guide the province in providing services such as healthcare, schools, policing in small towns.
“I don’t think people understand what the Census numbers are used for,” she said, adding she is concerned it may affect the village’s small community grant.
“We’re kind of in a catch-22. We know we need housing but the numbers don’t reflect that.”