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Leaps and bounds - Metro US

Leaps and bounds

The city will be in dire need of provincial and federal cash because Edmonton is suddenly much bigger, says Al Maurer, the city’s manager.

Edmonton grew by roughly 30,000 people between 2008 and 2009 making the city’s population officially stand at 782,439, as of April 1, according to census figures released yesterday.

That’s up from 752,412 from the same time last year, figures show, and Edmonton’s annual growth has averaged somewhere between 12,000 to 13,000 new residents over the past several years.

Maurer, who compared the growth to a small Alberta city, says getting funding from the provincial and federal government to pay for things such as police and roads could be much easier based on the city’s new population.

“We do have a challenge and part of the problem is our costs are not slowing down in a lot of areas,” said Maurer.

But Mayor Stephen Mandel says the new growth in Edmonton isn’t going to “overload the system.”

“If we would have had 200,000 people come within a year, that would put an unbelievable amount of pressure on (the system),” said Mandel. “But 30,000 people is something the city should withstand quite reasonably.”

Roughly 20 per cent of the new growth included new residents between the ages of 25 to 34, according to figures from this year’s count that city coffers paid $1.7 million for.

“(This) shows the resilience of our city,” said Mandel. “Those individuals are looking to build a future for themselves.”

The city says a similar count will be done in 2010 and an extensive count that will include a longer form will be done the year after.

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