Volume 93, Issue 4

Wednesday, May 28, 1999


NEWS

Senate revisions disable confusion

Western removes toxic substance

Post-secondary funding, taxes fuel debate

London population grows stagnant

OSAP repayment plan gets facelift

Birthday suits now welcome in mega city

Public suports more funding

Briefs

Stuff

In the city

London population grows stagnant



By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

A recent population and housing forecast for the City of London is calling for stormy weather ahead, unless city officials can boost a lagging growth rate.

The report, announced earlier this week, examined the years 1991-96 and stated the population and housing figures in past years have been overstated.

Orlando Zamprogna, a controller for the City of London, said he was very concerned about the future of the city in light of the recent forecast. He said previous growth rates were set at about 1.4 per cent but the revised rate reveals only 1.24 per cent growth.

"My contention is that even that is too high," he said and added any plans for infrastructure which have used the overstated figures may lead to a host of problems. "We could have urban sprawl and not be able to service it all," he said.

Zamprogna said a similar forecast, from a report conducted in 1993, projected London's population to be 431,899 by the year 2016. The latest forecast sets the new estimate at 406,280 by the same year – a difference of approximately 25,000 people.

He suggested the problem stems from people aged 18-35 who are moving to bigger cities because job opportunities in London are limited. "This is a wake-up call to pay more attention to the city's economic concerns," he added.

London Mayor Dianne Haskett agreed with Zamprogna and acknowledged the insufficient job opportunities in London as a key role in the decline. "I believe students are one of the greatest assets to London and it is important that we find fulfilling job opportunities for them," she said.

Joe Swan, councilor for Ward 2, was also concerned about the implications of the report and attributed the decrease in growth to a net migration of people out of London in 1991-1996.

Swan said the key to remedying the situation would be a joint effort between the various City Hall departments and London's economic organizations to devise a plan of action.

Haskett added she felt the three key sectors essential to remedying London's ailing economy are the university, the city and the leaders of the business community. "They need to sit down together and actively and aggressively promote the city," she said.

Sue Glass, owner of the Frilly Lizard clothing shop on Talbot Street, said she was not too concerned about the dreary forecast. "The summer month's are my quietest, but I'm not worried about the economy. You have to be optimistic," she said.

London resident and second-year science student Dean Padavan reinforced the notion London's job market was not performing up to speed. "I look at a place like London and I don't see any growth whatsoever. Everyone's going to bigger places like Mississauga," he said.

According to Zamprogna, the city intends to keep a close eye on the situation. "This is the most critical and crucial decision facing the city this year.


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Copyright The Gazette 1999