Special Report

2011 Census Population Data by Ward

It appears that nearly all of the new growth in population since 2006 has been single family residential sprawl in new suburban greenfields. So much for intensification.

By Ryan McGreal
Published February 13, 2012

this article has been updated

Joey Coleman has done some preliminary work mapping the Statistics Canada 2011 census data to Hamilton's ward maps and applying geographic coordinates for the census tract boundaries.

The ward totals are approximate; StatsCan data is broken down by Census Tract and they do not map exactly to our ward boundaries. As a result, a few CTs span two wards.

According to Coleman, there are overlaps on wards 14/15, 14/12, 11/9, 6/7 and 4/5. In those cases, the CT has been assigned to the ward that contains the bulk of the CT.

The City's official ward population map [PDF] does the same thing, and includes the caveat: "In some instances, Census tracts were assigned (aggregated) to the 'most appropriate' ward due to boundary conflicts."

Using Joey's data we have posted a representation of the census tract data on a google map. Census tracts in green gained population between 2006 and 2011; census tracts in red lost population. Hover over a census tract to see a pop-up tooltip with the ward, CT number, area, density, 2006 population and 2011 population.

Wards 1-5

Based on this data, Wards 1-5 lost an average of 423 residents each between 2006 and 2011.

Ward 2 has by far the highest density of the five lower city wards and was the only one to make an overall gain in residents. It increased population in: the area bounded by Cannon, James North, King and Queen; the area bounded by Strachan, Wellington, Cannon and James North; and the area bounded by King, Wellington, the Escarpment and James South.

The stagnation and slow decline in the populations of wards 1, 3, 4, and 5 appears to relate mainly to the fact that their building stock - mostly single family houses with some medium density over commercial streets - remains unchanged while the average size of Canadian families has been falling slowly.

Since these wards are already built out, the only way to increase their density is to insert new higher-density residential developments, and we haven't seen much of that.

It's not surprising, then, that Ward 2 bucked the trend of modest population decline by having a truly urban built form that more has easily accommodated new high-density building.

Ward 2's population growth comes despite - or rather because of - the fact that it already has by far the highest density in the city - over 6,000 people per square kilometre. That's three times as high as Wards 1, 4 and 5 and over twice as high as Ward 3.

Wards 6-8

Ward 6 lost 558 residents despite the completion of the Red Hill Valley Parkway, but wards 7 and 8 gained 2,051 and 1,287 residents, respectively. With population densities on par with or higher than most lower city neighbourhoods, Hamilton's inner-ring mountain suburbs actually did a better job of accommodating new residents - though most of the growth seems to have been suburban expansion around and south of Stone Church.

Ward 6 gained residents in the area between Upper Ottawa, Fennel and the Mountain brow, but lost residents in every other census tract.

Ward 7 gained residents in the areas: between Concession, Upper Sherman, Fennell and Upper Wentworth; between Fennel, Upper Wentworth, Mohawk and Upper Wellington; between Mohawk, Upper Gage, the Linc and Upper Wentworth; and more broadly in the areas south of the Linc and especially south of Stone Church.

Likewise, Ward 8 gained most of its residents south of the Linc and especially southof Stone Church, with a few pockets of modest growth in the northwest between Garth and Upper Paradise.

Continued Sprawl

Meanwhile, the two wards responsible for most city-wide growth between 2006 and 2011 are wards 11 (Glanbrook) and 12 (Ancaster), which grew by approximately 38% and 12%, respectively.

Needless to day, nearly all that growth was single family residential sprawl on new greenfields. They will continue to grow as long as the city continues to expand the urban boundary and couple expensive, low-density municipal infrastructure with discounted development charges.

So much for the Provincially mandated target of 40 percent intensification through 2025, which is supposed to take effect in 2015. The city's Growth Related Integrated Development Strategy (GRIDS) decidedly backloads its bare-minimum commitment to the Provincial goal; meanwhile, it has been business as usual in a city dominated for decades by unrestrained residential sprawl.

The legacy of that sprawl is an under-performing lower city starved of resources and a growing city-wide infrastructure base that cannot pay for itself because most of it is too low-density for property taxes to cover its life-cycle costs.

AEGD

The Airport Employment Growth District (AEGD), if it goes ahead, will be a sprawl bonanza when the prospective industrial uses don't materialize and residential developers rush in to take advantage of all that new infrastructure.

It's no surprise that the strongest support for AEGD comes from the residential home building industry. Most of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) appeals on the AEGD boundary expansion are efforts to have properties owned by home builders a) added to the area or b) rezoned for residential use.

Despite the City's protestations to the contrary, for the past several years, Hamilton has regularly caved into the demands of home builders and rezoned dedicated industrial sites with highway access for residential development.

Why should we expect AEGD to be any different, when the principal political impetus to build it is coming from those same home builders?

Ward Population Table

Approximate* Ward Populations, 2006 and 2011
Ward 2006 2011 Area (km2) Density (per km2) Change % Change
* Some Census Tracts cross ward boundaries. In these cases, their numbers were assigned to the ward that contains the bulk of the CT.
1 30,460 29,868 15.33 1,948 -592 -1.94%
2 37,408 37,569 6.14 6,119 161 0.43%
3 39,907 39,090 14.43 2,709 -817 -2.05%
4 36,961 36,333 16.59 2,190 -628 -1.70%
5 37,629 37,386 19.23 1,944 -243 -0.65%
6 39,807 39,249 15.81 2,483 -558 -1.40%
7 60,128 62,179 18.12 3,432 2,051 3.41%
8 47,520 48,807 17 2,871 1,287 2.71%
9 26,546 26,979 14.74 1,830 433 1.63%
10 24,212 23,524 10.58 2,223 -688 -2.84%
11 26,827 37,055 278.38 133 10,228 38.13%
12 31,421 35,120 113.39 310 3,699 11.77%
13 24,702 24,907 23.31 1,069 205 0.83%
14 17,651 17,634 439.12 40 -17 -0.10%
15 23,380 24,249 115.03 211 869 3.72%
Total 504,559 519,949 1117.2 465 15,390 3.05%

Update: A reader noticed that the Ward 10 numbers seemed low. It turns out we had two CTs allocated to Ward 11 by mistake.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted February 13, 2012 at 12:32:50

So much for the "end of suburbia", eh?

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted February 13, 2012 at 13:21:41

Westdale, huh?

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 13, 2012 at 13:40:27

I see a lot more young families in the Westdale area as the baby boomers trickle out. I'm actually surprised to see it red. Also surprising is seeing Ainsliewood in green... aren't we closing their elementary school?

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted February 13, 2012 at 13:59:47

Awesome work Joey! I was wondering why we haven't heard from you in a while, this certainly explains it.

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted February 13, 2012 at 14:19:44

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted February 14, 2012 at 09:22:47 in reply to Comment 74290

There is an abundance of energy on our planet.We just need to harvest it.

And there is one of the great disconnects in our world. Few of us seem to understand how much energy it takes to "harvest" energy. Especially given our current energy sources of choice and the methods of "harvesting" them.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted February 14, 2012 at 09:45:39 in reply to Comment 74322

the ocean is full of hydrogen atoms, we just need to harvest them.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted February 13, 2012 at 15:01:37 in reply to Comment 74290

According to wikipedia the current population density of Manchester is 4313/km2, which means Ward 2's population density is about 40% higher than Manchester's.

(According to the 2001 census Manchester's population density was 3400/km^2, i.e. only just over half of Ward 2's http://www.manchester.gov.uk/info/200088...

So I guess Hamilton (or at least Ward 2) can already support "transit, bicycling, walking" "as it is in the UK and [rest of] Europe".

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 14, 2012 at 09:26:22 in reply to Comment 74291

That dang wikipedia!

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By Chevron (anonymous) | Posted February 13, 2012 at 15:52:08 in reply to Comment 74291

Ward 7, too. Neighbouring Wards 6 and 8 are also none too shabby.

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By davidvanbeveren (registered) | Posted February 13, 2012 at 16:16:15

Another consideration - property values are more volatile in low density suburban areas. This open data project from Detroit gives a pretty chilling picture of what this can mean for a city during an economic downturn: whydon'tweownthis.com

(Admittedly Detroit is an extreme case, but towns & cities across America are turning out the streetlights)

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted February 13, 2012 at 17:47:11

Well, the argument for ward re-mapping to provide a more realistic and honest representation at Council certainly hasn't gotten any weaker.

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By Galanga (anonymous) | Posted February 13, 2012 at 17:54:23 in reply to Comment 74298

The budget-price solution would be to halve Ward 7. And someone's bound to suggest the same for Ward 8.

Two more mountain wards should make things much more efficient.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted February 13, 2012 at 18:22:24 in reply to Comment 74299

That's one way of doing it...while adding more councillors. What about re-drawing the map and not increasing the size of Council?

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By jonathan (registered) | Posted February 13, 2012 at 21:35:17 in reply to Comment 74301

...because ward boundaries are supposed to represent a balance of needs and population. Sure, they could dump a bunch of neighbourhoods from Wards 7&8 into Wards 11&12 (due south), but the farmers in Wards 11&12 have very different needs than the suburbanites of Wards 7&8. Or used to...suburbia has worked its way into those wards in a big way. Probably, the new wards should involve sections of wards 6,7,8.11, and 12. As population grows, so should council.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted February 14, 2012 at 04:43:35 in reply to Comment 74302

...because ward boundaries are supposed to represent a balance of needs and population.

Exactly. And so re-drawing the boundaries logically, humanely and thoughtfully should accomplish this.

Look; I'm not against increasing Council size. I believe we need to take a look at how councillors' roles are structured, to see if we can allow them more effectiveness on a day-to-day basis.

(I also believe all of this should be discussed at large._

But I'm just imagining the reaction of the average Hamiltonian to having to pay a couple more councillors to be a part of something that many have no general confidence in right now.

Would you want to lead that battle...?

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2012-02-14 04:45:35

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By Galanga (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:47:46 in reply to Comment 74310

Split the population 15 ways and you have 34,663 per. The lower city's pretty close to that, but the mountain wards from the old city are all over the place. You could derive a new ward from the 6/7/8 mix and end up with 36,864 per, which is comparable to current lower city stats.

That's a relatively clean change-up, one that only modifies Old City borders. Tinkering with northern and eastern wards is trickier, partly because the larger wards like 14 and 11 are modest from a population standpoint but more intensive to cover because of their vast size.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:54:41 in reply to Comment 74347

Last September I suggested a compromise, using 2006 census numbers:

One option is to split wards 1-5 into six wards with an average population of 30,401 and split wards 6-8 into five wards with an average population of 29,488.

That would lower the average ward 1-8 population from 41,231 to 29,986, which is closer to the average ward 9-15 population of 24,959. It would also lower the overall average ward population from 33,637 to 28,031.

Obviously, this would entail adding councillors, to which there are reasonable objections, but it would preserve the traditional boundaries of the suburban communities.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2012-02-14 11:55:26

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted February 14, 2012 at 08:10:53 in reply to Comment 74310

I have to agree that it may be a tough sell to add another salary or two.

And I strongly believe that a complete redraw is necessary. But the reasons that make it necessary are the very same ones that will make just about zero councillors support it.

Most councillors won't even consider floating a redraw since it would pose an immediate threat to their chance of re-election.

So while ward splitting may be harder for the public to get behind than a redraw, splitting may be the only option we ever get a chance to consider...

Maybe I'm being too pessimistic?

Comment edited by seancb on 2012-02-14 08:11:27

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted February 15, 2012 at 05:41:52 in reply to Comment 74316

Here's what I see as the 'bottom-line':

Nobody on Council will push for any kind of real 're-drawing' initiative. The impetus would have to come from the residents.

Likelihood of this...?

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 14, 2012 at 09:18:57 in reply to Comment 74316

I'm more interested in going back to a Board of Control type of set-up like we used to have where members are elected at large and represent the entire city....only after we've redrawn the boundaries however. Right now the suburbs hold a disproportionate amount of power and would surely elect a board with potentially devastating effects on the urban city. Or perhaps council should be elected at large??
Imagine having the passion and forward thinking leadership of Russ Powers or Brian Mchattie being applied on a city-wide level....on the flip side, imagine Ward 3 (who's had a councillor not live in the area in years and has stagnated more than anywhere else in the city) having councillors looking out for it's interests and not just leaving it up to the local rep? There's some options that could work towards moving Hamilton forward when it comes to council representation.

Comment edited by jason on 2012-02-14 09:25:50

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted February 15, 2012 at 05:44:22 in reply to Comment 74321

I'm more interested in going back to a Board of Control type of set-up like we used to have where members are elected at large and represent the entire city.

I've asked the question of a 'Board of Control's functionality of some who remember it better than I do.

The answers have, in the main, not been encouraging. I cannot see us going back to this setup.

Certainly not when we have so much more room for improvement in the other major aspect to the great local governance formula.

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By russ powers (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:53:21 in reply to Comment 74321

seriously? Have you seen that man's voting record?

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted February 14, 2012 at 09:30:59 in reply to Comment 74321

...where members are elected at large and represent the entire city....

And only the very wealthy or well connected will ever have the resources to run a citywide election campaign... ya, no thanks.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted February 14, 2012 at 09:47:30 in reply to Comment 74324

wht about way more wards, much smaller, and tiny paycheques ;-)

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By Galanga (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:50:18 in reply to Comment 74331

Hobby Council!

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 14, 2012 at 09:52:04 in reply to Comment 74331

When I hear "tiny paycheques", I think about the HWDSB trustees...

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By Galanga (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2012 at 07:40:37

Ward 10 seems a little small.

http://raisethehammer.org/blog/2244/hamilton_ward_demographics_2006_data

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 14, 2012 at 08:47:49 in reply to Comment 74314

Good catch. We're looking into it.

Edit: We found the issue. Census Tracts 5370085.02 and 5370085.01 were mistakenly listed under Ward 11 instead of Ward 10, where they belong. We have updated the article and the map. Thanks again for bringing this to our attention!

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2012-02-14 09:24:04

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted February 14, 2012 at 08:19:12 in reply to Comment 74314

Yes - ward 10 in the table on this page looks like it's had its population cut in half...typo perhaps?

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted February 14, 2012 at 08:33:13

We need to lop off 6, 7 and 8 north of fennel and create a ward representing the older part of the mountain (concession etc) - this will help with the super inflated ward 7

We could also combine 14 and 15 but change the south boundary of 14 to governor's rd.

One problem is that the core will be climbing in density and if we redraw now (at the beginnig of the climb) they will be under-represented once that growth spurt really takes off.

Can we sell ward 15 to burlington? I feel like they kinda want to belong to Burlington anyways. Sorry Flamborough. I love ya but I really don't want to pay for a cloverleaf overpass to service the shopping centres at clappisons.

Comment edited by seancb on 2012-02-14 08:42:05

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By Galanga (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:31:52 in reply to Comment 74318

15's Waterdown. 14's Flamborough.

You could probably also divide 11 with a north-south consistent with the eastern border of 9.

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By rpp (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:07:30

The %Change values are showing the wrong growth, and should be reversed; (negative/positive);
As well, for Ward 10, there is a large census tract that overlaps with Ward 11,
and needs to be properly split at the DA level in order to accurately calculate
population totals;

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:34:46 in reply to Comment 74342

The %Change values are showing the wrong growth, and should be reversed; (negative/positive);

Arrgh, fixed.

As well, for Ward 10, there is a large census tract that overlaps with Ward 11, and needs to be properly split at the DA level in order to accurately calculate population totals

You're right. The current numbers are approximate based - Joey assigned each CT to the ward in which the bulk of it resides (this is also how the City came up with their 2006 ward population figures). We intend to get more granular and accurate numbers as the data become available.

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By see also CATCH... (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2012 at 15:49:32

See this commentary too at www.hamiltoncatch.org

or

http://www.hamiltoncatch.org/view_article.php?id=1042

"CATCH Articles:
Population shortfall challenges growth plans
0diggFeb 10, 2012
Lower than forecast growth is calling into question both the city and Ontario’s growth plans. And nearly all of the population increase over the last five years took place in the former suburbs suggesting that sprawl rather than intensification continues to dominate in Hamilton.

Census figures released this week show two-thirds of Hamilton’s expected residents have not shown up. That further undermines the city’s position at two high profile Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearings – on the aerotropolis and the proposed future Elfrida residential boundary."
and more good stuff

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By Chevron (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2012 at 16:12:16 in reply to Comment 74373

Devil's advocate: Places To Grow was a 25-year plan and we're 1/5 of the way into it. If Hamilton is still getting sacked five years from now (assuming that the province regains its economic footing in that time), then we're looking at something more serious.

I'm not as optimistic that an exurban boom serves as a repudiation of the AEGD pitch, however.

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By FRed Street (anonymous) | Posted February 15, 2012 at 07:58:21

"It's not surprising, then, that Ward 2 bucked the trend of modest population decline"

$8.6 million in government subsidies was also helpful.

http://www.spallaccigroup.com/web_group/terraces.html

http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/374E0470-4E2A-4006-8BEF-5066420F5CA1/0/Nov22SPH05058.pdf

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted February 17, 2012 at 07:58:19

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 17, 2012 at 08:10:28 in reply to Comment 74509

Strange that they would use 2006 data after the 2011 data came out.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted February 17, 2012 at 08:21:26 in reply to Comment 74510

Strange that they would use 2006 data after the 2011 data came out.

You're being too kind, Ryan.

LOL

But they do say they've used the 2006 election results, not the 2010 (2011) Census numbers.

I'm going to be coming up with my own proposal for boundary realignments, one that I'm absatively sure will piss some people off. But hey; it's all towards a better Greater Amalgamated City of Hamilton, right...?

: )

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2012-02-17 08:24:25

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By new way of looking at things (anonymous) | Posted February 17, 2012 at 15:32:55

Instead of councilors representing a set number of residents we should change that so each councilor represents a certain amount of tax base. Since it is the tax base that pays for the councilors and every thing else that the city pays for the biggest payers should have the biggest representation. Hamilton's tax base will be in the $715,000,000 range so for a council of 15 one councilor for every $48,000.000 of tax base. Seems like the most fair way of doing it. Those that are paying should have the ability to help call the shots

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By highwater (registered) | Posted February 17, 2012 at 16:15:26 in reply to Comment 74525

Yeah. The rich already control our politics anyway. We might as well do away with this whole 'one man, one vote' charade and give the rich more votes as well.

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By new way of looking at things (anonymous) | Posted February 27, 2012 at 13:51:06 in reply to Comment 74529

Not at all one person one vote. Just as always. All that changes is the people who pay the most get more representation since they are footing the bill. Seems fair.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted February 18, 2012 at 06:36:21 in reply to Comment 74529

...or just effect the change we want to see...instead of whingeing about it ad nauseam.

You know, being true dissidents...

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2012-02-18 06:36:55

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted February 19, 2012 at 05:18:17

Speaking of re-drawing ward boundaries...

http://mystoneycreek.blogspot.com/2012/0...

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By Philosophers' Song (anonymous) | Posted March 20, 2012 at 15:24:09

Ward 7 still going strong.

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/690277--60-million-investment-approved-for-south-mountain

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By Pyrite (anonymous) | Posted July 09, 2012 at 11:40:45

Stumbled on the 2011-2016 Population Growth Estimates using GRIDS analysis:

POPULATION DIP
http://www.hamilton.ca/Hamilton.Portal/Inc/PortalPDFs/GrowthOfPopulation/LowerHamilton.pdf
http://www.hamilton.ca/Hamilton.Portal/Inc/PortalPDFs/GrowthOfPopulation/Dundas.pdf

POPULATION GAIN
http://www.hamilton.ca/Hamilton.Portal/Inc/PortalPDFs/GrowthOfPopulation/Ancaster.pdf
http://www.hamilton.ca/Hamilton.Portal/Inc/PortalPDFs/GrowthOfPopulation/UpperHamilton.pdf
http://www.hamilton.ca/Hamilton.Portal/Inc/PortalPDFs/GrowthOfPopulation/Glanbrook.pdf
http://www.hamilton.ca/Hamilton.Portal/Inc/PortalPDFs/GrowthOfPopulation/StoneyCreek.pdf

All areas are anticipated to grow from 2016-2021, though by wildly varying amounts: by around 400 residents in Dundas, by around 7,000 across Lower Hamilton and by around 90,000 across Upper Hamilton.

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