Politicians on the Coast are waiting for more detailed numbers from Statistics Canada to see exactly how the Coast has grown in the past five years and if current planning accommodates growth trends.
Recently released census numbers show a jump in population growth on the Coast during the last five years. The overall population of the Coast grew 8.4 per cent from 2001 to 2006, bumping the total residents recorded to 27,759 from 25,599.
But what age groups that growth encompasses, whether the growth is driven by families or singles, the percentage of immigrants, income levels and shelter costs are yet to be released by Statistics Canada.
Those statistics will come down sporadically between July 17, when age and sex stats are released, and May 1, 2008, when income and earnings as well as housing and shelter costs will be released.
Some politicians are questioning the population figures this week, saying they expected a greater increase for the Sunshine Coast based on the amount of building, particularly in Sechelt, that saw an 8.7 per cent increase.
Statistics Canada acknowledges possible discrepancies on their website. "While the census strives to enumerate the entire population on census day, inevitably, a few people are not counted (for example they were away during the enumeration period)," the website states.
Another answer offered by Bill Brown, administrator for the District of Sechelt, is small household size.
"Building activity would make you think we have a higher population. The census shows less than expected. We think that when the age information comes out, the census will show the reason for small household size is there are more retired people in Sechelt than expected," he said.
While most of the Coast grew at a rate somewhere between 7.0 and 8.7 per cent, Langdale stood out with a 13.4 per cent population growth.
Area regional district director Lee Turnbull suspects that jump is due to more commuters moving to the area.
Turnbull noted the area's official community plan (OCP) is very outdated and will be looked at and revised, taking census figures into account.
"Our last update of the OCP was in 1988, and we really haven't looked at growth in the area for many years. So we're going to start that late this year or early next year," she said.
Turnbull plans to work with neighbouring Town of Gibsons on inter-boundary issues, and she's excited at the prospect.
"I don't think that has ever been done before and it's time we work together to address common issues," she said.
In Gibsons, Mayor Barry Janyk wasn't really surprised at the statistics that show a growth rate of 7.1 per cent.
"That's sort of middle of the road and where we projected we'd be at when we were looking at the OCP," he said.
He says the town is in a position to accommodate more growth and he would like to see the commercial sector grow in the area.
"That's something council will be working on during the next two years. We can't let that aspect of our economy go, because the commercial sector pays the bills," he said.
All areas will be taking a closer look at the numbers in the next few weeks at their individual councils and boards and making adjustments to planning as needed.
For more information on local population statistics, go to www.statcan.ca.