Smaller than 5 years ago, but the traffic is better

By Greg Holden

Open roads abound in Chatham-Kent. Photo Google Earth


While the country and province has grown in population, Chatham-Kent has lost about 4,500 residents over the past 5 years. That is a 4.2% decrease from where the municipality was 5 years before according to Statistics Canada’s 2011 Census released yesterday. There is concern around Chatham-Kent about the report since the release of this data, but is it overdone?

Chatham-Kent has seen some upheaval over the past 5 years, including the loss of many manufacturing jobs, a declining birth rate, and a very modest success in attracting new Canadians. More common than ever is the practice of young people leaving for greener pastures elsewhere.

A shrinking population affects everything from businesses in the area, tax rates, provincial funding and real estate prices to how we see ourselves and our communities. The report portrays Chatham-Kent as fading in opportunity and the numbers do not lie. In an expanding province and country we have become smaller.

The good news is: Traffic is better. Some shorter lineups happen at supermarkets or the mall and best of all there is on any given day a 50% chance of getting a good parking spot.

Moral of the story is: Don’t worry too much about 1-year-old data that seems redundant to anyone who opens their front door and looks outside. While there remains serious concern for the region, this census does not shed light on any of that. Census figures are used to make political points by people who accept out of date information as having consequences today.

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