Langford labelled fastest-growing in B.C., Island communities show significant growth in latest census data


Welcome, again, to Langford, the fastest-growing municipality in British Columbia.

Its growth outpaces any other municipality in Greater Victoria as well, according to new census figures from Statistics Canada.

The City of Langford not only showed significant growth compared to the rest of British Columbia, but took the third-place spot for the fastest growing suburban municipality in Canada, states the data.

Statistics Canada released the results of the 2021 census data, which showed Langford grew by 31.8 per cent since the previous census in 2016.

Mayor Stew Young says the changes to the region have been dramatic over the past twenty years.

“It used to be called, ‘Dogpatch,’ but it’s transformed now into something really special,” he said.

And the mayor adds that he feels there is no end in sight to the current growth patterns.

“Because we’re going to start to go up now, in towers, and put our downtown core more like a downtown core.”

The growth, however, is not just in Langford but all over the Island.

The community of Tahsis saw a whopping 58 per cent increase in its population, which now boasts 393 residents.

The double-digits continue in Tofino, Ucluelet, Cumberland, and a 10 percent hike for Nanaimo.

Not everywhere grew, according to the numbers, showing losses of one per cent in Port McNeil, negative six per cent in Port Hardy, and a drop of eight per cent in Lantzville.

In regards to Greater Victoria as a whole, there are now approximately 400,000 residents across the region.

Although Langford outpaced all other municipalities, Sooke, Colwood, Highlands, and View Royal also saw strong growth.

There was a nine per cent increase in North Saanich, Victoria is up by seven per cent, and Saanich, the Island’s largest municipality, grew by three per cent.

The exceptions for population growth in the region are Esquimalt and Oak Bay, which showed a decline — much to the surprise of Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins.

“Well, I’m as surprised as anyone else that we showed up with a minus as opposed to a plus. It’s 122 people to be exact.”

Despite seeing a decline since 2016, 2,000 units are either under construction or approved to be completed in Esquimalt in anticipation of the Island’s population increasing in the coming years.

Some municipalities are better than others at understanding the need for housing, according to Kathy Witcher, executive director, Urban Development Institute.

“I know that Esquimalt is in the negative but that won’t be the case for long. There is a lot of activity in Esquimalt. And obviously Langford. They have done incredibly well. If other municipalities are not going to pull their weight in getting housing onto the market, we need these municipalities like Langford to step up and start building.”

The growth across the Island is expected to put more pressure on the region’s already tight, and expensive, real estate market.

READ MORE: One in 10 Canadians lived in smaller urban centres in 2021: StatCan

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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