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Pressure on infrastructure

But population growth doesn't come without its challenges.

The two most important issues in Chilliwack, according to Gaetz, are infrastructure funding and pressure on farmland.

To address infrastructure, Gaetz said the city has adopted a policy of making development pay for itself through development cost charges.

To preserve farmland, she said the city has only two options: more development in the mountains and greater density in the valley.

She said development in the hills will come with higher infrastructure costs, and not all single-family home dwellers in the urban areas will be happy about an apartment going up next door. But that will be the price of our burgeoning population.

"It's part of a growing city," she said.

Farther up the Fraser Valley, meanwhile, Hope saw a population decrease of 3.5 per cent, the fourthbiggest decrease in the province after Kitimat (-7.3 per cent).

Overall, the latest Census figures show B.C.'s population increased by seven per cent between 2006 and 2011, pushing the population to 4.4 million, and making B.C. the second fastest growing province next to Alberta.

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