Wānaka population set to double in 30 years

Wānaka is set to double its population in the next 30 years, according to the Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) population projections published last week.

The projections shed light on average population figures and took into account the effect COVID-19 had – and will continue to have – on the district.

Four different demand projections were considered, all of which were based on the Council’s previous 2018 population projections. They ranged from the same eventual outcome as proposed in the 2018 projections, to a 30-year delay from the 2018 projections.

While a slowdown in growth over the initial ten years was expected, population figures would increase in the 20-year period that followed.

The estimated population for the Wānaka Ward for 2021 was 13,640, but by 2051 this would have grown to 28,240, with an annual change of 508.

The total number of visitors on a peak day in 2012 was expected to be 19,500; while by 2051 this would have grown to 24,500.

The total number of residents on an average day in 2021 was predicted to be 15,930. The total number of residents on an average day in 2051 was predicted to be 23,770.

QLDC Chief Executive Mike Theelen said the projections showed any population slowdown would not last into the future.

“While COVID-19 will have a significant impact on our population in the short-term, this doesn’t mean our district’s ongoing development will stop,” Theelen said.

“Both historical and current patterns suggest the district can have continued confidence about its future population. The district has very strong demographic fundamentals, and while the economic and social dislocation as a result of COVID will dampen demand, this will eventually return. Our modeling expects that ongoing family formation and migration from people across Aotearoa New Zealand and elsewhere who see the district as a great place to live, work, and play will ensure that population trends recover over time.”

While population projections were initially scheduled to be reviewed every six months, delays in the release of the 2018 census data led to them not being reviewed until this year.

Other statistics predicted the number of houses in the Wānaka Ward to rise from  8,530 in 2021 to 15,410 in 2051.

The total rating units were predicted to rise from 10,010 in 2012 to 17,920 in 2051.

Read edition 990 of the Wānaka Sun here.


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