Kincardine’s population not growing, Statistics Canada reveals

Would be interesting to see data for contractors who live in Kincardine during week, says CAO

By Barb McKay


Kincardine’s population is remaining stagnant, according to Statistics Canada census data, despite an increasing number of new residential developments.


Statistics Canada 2011 census report on Canadian population counts and growth, released last week, shows that the Municipality of Kincardine has grown by just one person since census data was recorded in 2006. According to the report, Kincardine’s population sits at 11,174, compared to 11,173 in 2006. The average age in Kincardine is 47 and 87 per cent of the population is over the age of 15 years old.


Bruce Stickney, municipal planner for the County of Bruce, isn’t surprised that Kincardine’s population isn’t growing.


“The boom and bust periods surround what happens at Bruce Power,” he said, as the nuclear power company is the community’s main employer.


He noted that Kincardine is currently in a stable period in terms of population movement because most of the refurbishment work associated with the Bruce A Restart program is complete.


The overall picture can be a bit deceiving, Stickney noted, because there are a number of housing developments in the works and in the planning stages.


“But most of the work we’re seeing here is for people who are retiring up here,” he said.


While work on reactor units at Bruce Power is wrapping up, contractors and their families are moving out of the municipality. They are being replaced by seniors who are retiring in the lakeside community.


“We’re not seeing a population growth, despite new development,” Stickney said.


In the past, most of the housing developments were single detached homes. Now, most of the applications coming before the county planning department are for townhouses, Stickney added.


He said it’s unlikely Kincardine will see population growth until there are increased opportunities for employment.


“Until a new employer comes to town or there’s new work at Bruce Power, it will be steady as you go.”


Stickney said the Penetangore Regional Economic Development Corporation (PREDC) is looking for ways to bring employers to the municipality, which would certainly help. In the meantime, however, he said, the municipality will need to look for efficiencies to maintain services for residents without a population boost.


Kincardine CAO Murray Clarke said Statistics Canada fails to recognize the contract employees who live in the community during the week and return to their home towns on the weekends. He said those individuals contribute to the local economy by paying rent, shopping and eating in local restaurants.


“It would be interesting if we could get that data,” he said.


By comparison, neighbouring community, Huron-Kinloss Township, has seen a population increase of 4.2 per cent since 2006. The population rose to 6,790 from 6,515. There, the average age is 44 years old.


Matt Farrell, chief building official for the township, said Huron-Kinloss experienced a major building boom in 2010, particularly with the Heritage Heights and Inverlyn Lake Estates developments.


“We’ve had some areas of development along the lakeshore that have opened up that are desirable,” he said.


He said the developments cater to the needs of people in the community who don’t particularly want to live in an urban area. At the same time, he noted, residences along the lakeshore that were once seasonal are now becoming long-term residences.


Away from the lakeshore, Farrell said farm land is still desirable.


“I don’t think you’re seeing as much of a move away from the farm as what had been anticipated,” he said.


Farrell said the population figures will likely level off soon as current developments will soon be complete. He said the township now needs to encourage landowners looking to develop to start the process.