Colin Basran says Kelowna preparing for continued growth

Population surprises mayor

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran admits to being a bit surprised population estimates for the city have surpassed 140,000.

Figures released this week by BC Stats peg the city's estimated population at slightly more than 142,000, while the greater Kelowna area tops 217,000.

Those figures give the city a growth rate of about 2.0 per cent annually since the 2016 census put Kelowna's population at 133,000.

"I guess it's just indicative of the things we're seeing in our community, certainly from a real estate and development standpoint," Basran said Friday.

"Over the last few years, we've had record-breaking development in our community. When you consider that and continued growth of our various institutions such as UBCO and Okanagan College, those numbers seem to be in line with the trends we are seeing."

Regardless of the exact population numbers, Basran says the city is preparing for significant growth.

It's expected the city will grow by 40,000 to 50,000 residents by 2040.

"This is the whole reason we are doing that forward-looking work. That won't change," he said.

Basran said growth rates fluctuate and, given the estimates from BC Stats, he will have a conversation with staff to find out if a 2.0 per cent year-over-year growth rate is realistic.

"The numbers we have been working with have been a moderate rate of growth of 1.5 per cent."

The mayor does say the increased population figures indicate the city seems to be doing something right.

"We pride ourselves in being a place where people want to live," he said. "I think this is certainly indicative of that. We will keep doing our best to try and make sure that, as a result of that growth we still have a high quality of life, and Kelowna continues to be a place that people want to live."

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