By MATT NICHOLLS
ARMIDALE is poised for the biggest population boom in New England, new forecasts predict.
The city has been tipped to reach a population of 31,500 by 2031, a growth rate of 24.5 per cent.
Armidale Dumaresq councillor Herman Beyersdorf, who has had a long-standing interest in population statistics, welcomed the Department of Planning and Infrastructure’s forecast.
“These revised figures show that Armidale will need the extra industrial land that is now coming,” he said.
“It also means that council must continue to be pro-active in delivering services to a growing population.”
Cr Beyersdorf said examples included promoting extra airline services, creating another landfill and building a new library.
He also warned that predictions were just that, and could change due to favourable or unfavourable conditions.
“While we cannot really influence external factors, such as the overall state of the Australian economy, it is vital that we do everything in our power to maintain and improve the conditions at local level which are leading to this positive trend,” Cr Beyersdorf said.
After many years of gloomy population forecasts, which predicted Armidale would not show any growth in the next 20 years, the latest forecasts has the city ahead of all others in the New England North West, beating Tamworth, which expects a growth rate of 17 per cent over the same period.
Of all the 101 regional councils in NSW, Armidale had the seventh highest predicted growth rate.
A strong population increase has also been forecast for Uralla and Guyra, with 18.8 and 10 per cent growth predicted respectively.
However, Walcha Shire was predicted to have an 11 per population decrease.
“Regardless of any changes that may come about in local government following the recommendations of the Independent Review Panel, the entire Northern Tablelands region seems set for a bright future,” Cr Beyersdorf said.