Residents of Humboldt may be shocked by the results of a BHP Billiton report. According to a Jansen Project Readiness Study done by BHP Billiton, the City of Humboldt could be seeing an increase of 50 per cent to the population by 2023. The study was done to identify and describe community infrastructure, services, housing capacity and needs, municipal plans, actions and allowances for the further development of infrastructure, services and housing. It also identifies and describes challenges within each community. According to the report, Humboldt looks as if it is in a good position to receive a large increase in population. “The City of Humboldt if the largest community and is becoming a strong regional hub with urban amenities and services,” stated the BHP study. “There is active residential and commercial development in the city.” The Jansen mine is expected to employ 510 people on a full-time basis by 2015 and 1,050 by 2023. They expect the region will see a population growth of 4,500 to 5,500 in local communities by 2023, with 1,820 yo 2,240 living in Humboldt. Another report, called the McNair report, was released by PIER, which also addressed the projected population growth in the region. “McNair and BHP reports provide a lot of information to the city and to developers and real estate companies,” said Humboldt Mayor Malcolm Eaton. The reports provide a lot of information about the needs the city foresees over the next few years in regards to housing and population growth. “What the McNair report has done, it has, like the BHP report, provided some indications of where we might anticipate the BHP workforce to live as they put this mine in operation over the next 10 years,” said Eaton. “It indicates the kind of population growth there might be and then it also indicates some of the kinds of housing that would be needed.” Both the reports provide the city with good information about what the next ten years of growth may look like, said Eaton. “What we are doing now is trying to use this information as well as other information we are gathering to help us further develop some of the planning for growth work that we’ve been doing for the last few years,” said Eaton. He explained the reports are valuable documents to the city, developers, investors, homeowners and builders, that will help them make decisions. The reports pointed out both the positives and negatives about the community. The reports said Humboldt has the recreation and health facilities and is prepared for growth but is lacking in a few areas. The key challenges for the city to overcome are shortage of cultural activities and facilities, concerns about increased social issues, and increased traffic issues, and the requirement for comprehensive community sustainability planning for specific growth areas. The reports have helped city council realize what they need to focus on to make Humboldt ready for an increase in population. “We need, in order to make good decisions, good information and so we are hoping for good information to come through some of the other studies we’re taking a look at,” said Eaton. The city is currently looking at planning work around pre-engineering for lagoon expansion and community assessment with a survey they have put out to the community. “We hope to get some feedback on asset management planning and things like that over the coming months as well,” said Eaton. He is looking forward to engaging the community in the near future. “I think, overall, the community can expect some interesting information and open houses — opportunities for the community to have some input on some of the planning work as well in the coming months,” said Eaton.