St. Albert broke the 60,000 population mark, according to municipal census results released Monday.
The census, completed between April 1 and May 7, saw St. Albert's population grow to 60,138, up 2.8 per cent from 2008.
Chief census official Chris Belke said the results were on target with city expectations, adding the city had contact with more residents this time by allowing them to respond online. Some 40 per cent of all respondents, or 8,800 residences, took advantage of the online census.
We were hoping to have 33 per cent as our goal … I think St. Albert residents were enthusiastic about using the online census," Belke said.
According to a press release from the city, the neighbourhoods of North Ridge, Lacombe Park, Kingswood, Erin Ridge and Oakmont saw the largest population change, each exceeding five per cent.
The census also showed St. Albert's senior population continued its upward trend, though Belke could not provide specific demographic figures at this time. Almost 6,200 seniors called St. Albert home in 2008, about 11 per cent of the population.
Belke said the new census figures would help the city's bottom line when applying for per capita provincial and federal funding, though again could provide no specifics. At budget time last year administration estimated 2.2 per cent growth could yield $160,000 annually in grants for basic capital, policing and Family and Community Support Services.
Coun. James Burrows said he was pleased to see the city's population go above 60,000, adding that it showed St. Albert's viability as a place to live during the recession.
"It says to me that St. Albert is a very desirable place to live," he said. "I was worried [the recession] would put us in a bad position, but look how well we've done."
Coun. Carol Watamaniuk also praised the higher population number.
"It's a milestone in St. Albert history," she said. "Now I'm wondering how long it will take to get to 70,000."
Watamaniuk wasn't surprised to learn that the city's senior population increased, given her involvement with the North Ridge Lodge expansion. She also pointed out that many seniors are living longer.
On the flip side, Watamaniuk said the decreasing number of younger people in the city is a problem.
"A lot of young people do go out of the city, and there's the whole issue of affordable housing and [creating] jobs for them here in St. Albert," she said.
The full report will be presented to council later this summer, when Belke said there would be more in-depth analysis.