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West Kelowna about to be bigger than Penticton

West Kelowna from Kettle Valley in Kelowna
April 27, 2021 - 7:30 AM

West Kelowna only needs 102 more residents to become the fourth largest city in the Thompson-Okanagan, ahead of Penticton.

Population estimates put out each year by the Province of B.C. show that West Kelowna grew by 1.5 per cent from 2019 to 2020, gaining 533 new residents.

By contrast, Penticton only grew by 0.6 per cent, adding 221 new residents.

“West Kelowna continues to attract residents who are seeking to live, work and play in our beautiful city and we’re so proud of how our positive community growth contributes to the Okanagan region,” Mayor Gord Milsom said in his state of the city address to the Greater Westside Board of Trade last week,

“With the strong economic indicators reflecting our steady growth rate, a record number of construction permit values in the first quarter of 2021 along with the services we provide, West Kelowna is truly the place to be,” he’s quoted as saying in a City of West Kelowna news release.

Over the past 10 years, West Kelowna grew by about 5,000 people, while Penticton only grew by about 3,600.

Kelowna led the way with growth in the region last year, adding 3,067 citizens. That’s a two per cent growth rate, the highest among the Thompson-Okanagan’s five largest cities, giving it a population of 146,127. At that rate, it just might break 150,000 this year.

Kelowna grew by 26,159 people over the past decade.

Kamloops continues to easily hold down the ranking as the second largest city in the Interior of B.C. with 101,198 residents. It grew by an estimated 1.2 per cent last year and has added 13,600 people in the past decade.

Vernon has an estimated 44,171 people in 2020, growing at 1.9 per cent year over year and adding 5,351 residents over the past decade.

In the regional districts, the Central Okanagan had the highest growth rate at two per cent with an estimated population of 222,748.

The Thompson Nicola Regional District grew by 0.9 per cent to 147,432 and had Logan Lake as the fastest growing town in the region at 6.8 per cent, bringing its population to 2,292.

The north Okanagan grew by 1.4 per cent to 92,184 while the Okanagan Similkameen came in at 0.8 per cent, growing to 90,057.

In total, the Thompson-Okanagan region had an estimated 555,421 people last year.

The province as a whole grew to 5.148 million, a 1.1 per cent rate of growth.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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