Shelburne is the fastest-growing community in Southwest Nova Scotia, and the town is proudly going to showcase that tidbit for the next five years at least.
In the sneak peak of the census information released on population figures recently, while most Nova Scotian towns saw a decline in population, Shelburne saw a growth.
The 2011 to 2016 census revealed a growth of 3.44 per cent - an increase of 57 people.
The population climbed from 1,686 people to 1,743 – a significant change after a steady downturn in population in previous census numbers.
“Council wanted to know why,” said the town’s chief administrative officer, Dylan Heide.
That’s why the town created a survey as part of a larger goal in attracting and retaining residents to the town.
Some of the results were unexpected, he said. A large group of the newcomers did respond to the town’s survey that asked what brought them to town, what they liked about it and what they would change.
“We were surprised that the number one response was jobs,” said Heide.
Local businesses like Boxing Rock and the government’s shift of its Fisheries and Aquaculture division, amongst others, has helped to grow the local economy. That’s also a key focus of council, Heide said.
Other results from the survey revealed that rather than seeing a hike in retirement-aged couples moving to the area, the majority of the new residents are in the 20- to 60-year-old age category. Most of the new residents are from other places in the Atlantic provinces.
Heide said the town is making a push to help address any barriers to people wanting to set up a life in Shelburne as well as trying to build on why they like the area including safety, community and natural beauty.
“An increase in population equals economic sustainability,” said Heide.