Citizens concerned about town’s census numbers

February 2, 2023, 1:56 pm
Sierra D'Souza Butts

The Mayor of Moosomin Larry Tomlinson informed Chamber members about the town’s push for getting its 2021 census numbers corrected. Members in the room also expressed their concerns about the issue.

Following the mayor’s wrap up of the highlights for the Town of Moosomin at Tuesday’s Chamber of Commerce meeting, residents expressed their concerns about the town’s 2021 census numbers being recounted for a second time.

“I’ve had five phone calls with Dr. Kitchen today. He agrees with me that our census is wrong,” said Larry Tomlinson, Mayor of Moosomin told the Chamber.

“He’s going to attack it from his end. We did provide him with more information yesterday. He doesn’t think we can reappeal, but he will find out. I understand that Esterhazy is in the same situation as well.”

Statistics Canada initially reported that Moosomin had a population of 2,675 in the 2021 census.

After the town repeatedly brought it to their attention that the reported census was inaccurate, StatsCan responded with a revised census number that is 4.3 per cent higher for Moosomin, than the initial 2021 number.

The revised census number stated the town’s population had increased from 2,657 to 2,774, along with the count of total private dwellings increasing from 1,207 to 1,281.

However, the mayor and other members at the meeting stated they believe the revised numbers are still inaccurate.

Doug Creighton of the Crate House, asked the mayor what he thinks the actual population for the town is.

“If you look at the health card numbers, it’s 3,303. If you go by census I think they have us at 2,774 right now,” said Tomlinson.

“Over the years, you’ve seen a bigger gap between the active health cards in Moosomin and the census numbers,” added Kevin Weedmark of the Chamber of Commerce.

“Based on the towns that we looked at, all seem to be wrong. Esterhazy supposedly dropped by six per cent in the last census after growing in the previous one, but they have new households that have been built that are full, so it’s impossible to believe.”

Murray Gray, the chair of Moosomin’s Economic Development Committee, also expressed his frustration.

“It’s a shame they spent that much money on getting an accurate count to how many people live in each community, but to drop the ball that much,” he said.

“We also want to promote ourselves as a growing community, that the town has a lot going for itself so, a smaller number in the census actually is detrimental to our future.”

About three members at the meeting stated their house in town never received a census from Stats Can back in 2021, including the mayor.

“The problem is that the census affects our finances,” said Tomlinson.

“The point is not about this is the size of Moosomin, but that there’s things that we rely on with the funding that comes with the reported census,” added Angela Turpie, from Moosomin RBC.

Jonathon Shierman, lead pastor at Moosomin Baptist Church asked, “if StatsCan refuses to listen, is there any action the town can take?”

“I’ve tried to through Mr. Kitchen, but he didn’t sound like we could reappeal. I wasn’t lying when I said I talked to him five times yesterday,” Tomlinson said smiling.

“He kept phoning me back for more information. We’ll see what he comes up with, but it doesn’t sound very promising for another recount.”

Highlights for the town from 2022
At Tuesday’s meeting, Tomlinson also spoke about the accomplishments that the Town of Moosomin made within 2022.

“In October, we hired a full-time economic development officer. We have the cost split between the town, the RM, and the CBA to sponsor the economic development officer,” said Tomlinson.

“Since the start of that, EDC has been very busy. We have some very good people running it.

“A few of the things we did last year, we purchased and installed a second 48 Niche Columbarium at the cemetery for $20,000.

“We spent about $675,000 plus taxes on paving in town in 2022. We bought another a three-quarter ton service truck that needs to be used when water breaks or there’s a landpipe. We now have a full service truck in town with everything in it to go to a job.

“In 2021, we ordered a new grader which finally came in late fall. We had a metal quonset out at the yard, we ran out of storage for equipment and everything else so we got it insulated and heated for more storage.

“The rec department, I don’t even know where to start because Mike is all over the place. He does an excellent job. One thing I’ll say about Mike is he finds grants for everything, he sort of covers his own tracks.

“There was a BMX track installed, the mezzanine went into the MCC Centre, the outdoor rink was retro-fitted with pavement repairs, new plex-glass and other board repairs. We rip-rapped the newest cell at the lagoon which was $250,000, but it had to be done.

“We installed three blocks of new water line on Ogilvie Street. We’re in the process of working on looping the water from the SaskPower building at the corner of Saunders Road and Celebration Drive, to the north and then all the way to the west of Main Street, which will complete the loop.

“We’re working with KGS group on finalizing the design of the new major upgrades for the water treatment plant, including the new filtration. The total of that is going to be about $13.7 million.”

“We’ll have to borrow $3.5 million which we already have approved by council.

“Overall it was a very busy year. It was a little bit tight for money, but we got everything done that we’re hoping to do.”

Tomlinson informed Chamber members about what the town’s priorities are for this year.

“Going into 2023, we’re going to do some water and sewer work by Moose Street by the CPR crossing.

“For South Front, we will build an extension for the apartment building for Evan (Keller Developments) which will happen first thing in the spring, that’s the top of our priority.

“We’re going to install a water line on Broadway. We’ve got storm sewers and storm pipes on the east side of town that need to be done.

“In the spring, with the new water treatment, probably what will happen is that the building will go up and we’ll install a new line from the wells at the lake to town.

“We have a lot of work lined up for 2023. We had a five-year plan on infrastructure because it seemed to get behind in years gone by. We’re in the fifth year of the plan now, we’ve got some of it done, but the infrastructure work never ends.

“I welcome Evan to town, we really appreciate you coming to town and investing into our town. We really appreciate that.”