By Kennedy Gordon
Peterborough, Ont. — Immigration growth in Peterborough County is outpacing growth in larger urban centres, county council heard Wednesday.
That’s good news for the area, said the vice-chairman of the Peterborough Partnership Council on Immigrant Integration.
John Hucks was joined by interim co-ordinator Jason Stabler, interim executive director Hajni Hos and treasurer Amanda Dibbits — a county employee — to update council on the work of the group.
As part of its five-year plan to develop an immigration strategy for the area, the group has crunched numbers relating to newcomers.
Hucks presented Statistics Canada numbers for 2001-06 showing that while Ontario’s overall population increase was 5.7% over that period, the increase in its immigrant population was 10%.
In the city of Peterborough, the population went up 6.1%, with immigrant population rising 13.7%.
But in the county (excluding the city), the overall increase was 6.4% and the immigrant population increased by 14%.
“What this tells us is that immigrants are choosing Peterborough County,” he said.
“We have a culture that people want to be a part of.”
Not all these immigrants are coming directly from other countries, he explained. Some are coming from larger centres, their first stop in Canada.
These newcomers can help solve many problems facing rural areas, Hucks said. Low school enrolment and labour shortages can be addressed by attracting more people.