Keremeos is growing at what appears to be a manageable rate – at this point.
The first batch of census data was released last week by Statistics Canada.
The data shows that Keremeos has grown by 172 people since 2011.
The total population as of the census was 1,502, which represents about a 12.9 per cent increase.
“It’s wonderful,” Keremeos Mayor Manfred Bauer said of the data. “People are moving here from the Lower Mainland,Naramata, Penticton and that’s not a guess – that’s a fact. We often hear it’s because of a mixture of high housing prices inthe Lower Mainland and the Okanagan and people are looking to stretch their money and have a little more disposableincome. We’re also providing an immense variety of services here in Keremeos, which we are very proud of.”
Bauer said the village has capacity to keep growing. The village is currently working on a 60-year liquid waste managementplan and he said the Keremeos Irrigation District is working on up-to-date 10-year plan as well.
Bauer noted that growth is imminent as the Lower Similkameen Community Services Society works to complete a 24-unitaffordable housing project and that there are several other private builders working towards building units in the village in thecoming years.
Sarah Martin, executive director of LSCSS said a 90-page housing report was just released on the area and that there iscertainly a need in the community for more housing options.
“The demand is pretty constant for all of our services,” she said.
Martin noted that as new people come in to the Lower Similkameen many are coming in with complex needs that the society istrying to address.
The LSCSS provides 16 programs including different housing options from affordable to assisted.
Martin said the society does receive applications from out of town people for housing but that priority is always given to localpeople.
Programs offered cover a wide variety of needs and ages from counseling, to family support, dealing with violence in thehome, meals on wheels, and tutoring and many others.
Martin said funding for the most part is not based on population as sources vary by program.
“We’re always overstretched, right, we’re a charity, but really, the only observation that I’ve noticed, that staff has noticed, isthat there are higher demands coming in from those people moving to the area.”