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Population burst a ‘launching pad’ for new town centre planning in Lake Country
Lake Country officials insist they are coping with an influx of new residents.
The new census shows the municipality went from 9,606 people in 2006 to 11,708 in 2011.
“Almost 22 per cent growth is certainly significant,” said Mark Koch, development services manager.
“We’re the fastest growing community in the region.”
Koch believe’s Lake Country has proven popular partly because of its location between Vernon and Kelowna, its recreational amenities as well as its proximity to the airport and the University of B.C.
But as more people move in, there is increased demand for water, sewer, roads, transit and recreational facilities.
“It certainly puts a strain on infrastructure,” said Koch.
“It’s always a challenge to make sure infrastructure is in place but we’re working hard to accommodate growth.”
Over the years, there has been a significant financial investment in upgrades to the water and sewer utilities while more resources have been put towards transit to provide residents with alternate modes of transportation.
Planning documents have also been established to determine where development occurs throughout the municipality, including in Oyama.
“We want to make sure we preserve the open space people value,” said Koch, adding that lifestyle is one of the factors that draws people to Lake Country.
With a land area of 122 sq km, Lake Country’s population density per square kilometre is 95.8.
An increased population base could also bolster the economy and create opportunities for new retailers and other businesses.
“It’s a fantastic launching pad for our new town centre area,” said Koch.