Through aggregated cell phone data, Revelstoke city staff are hoping to receive a better idea of who is living in the city. (Black Press file photo)

Revelstoke city staff looking for population accuracy through cell phone project

A partnership with TELUS could soon give Revelstokians a better idea of who’s living in their city.

During Tuesday’s city council meeting, council recommended that the CSRD Board of Directors allocate $55,000 from the Economic Opportunity Fund to finance the Revelstoke TELUS Insights Collection Project.

The project would provide a one year regional analysis of Revelstoke’s population through utilization of aggregated cell phone data, giving greater insight into origin and quantity of visitors, movement to and from the region, monthly comparisons of population metrics and average dwell times by demographic metrics.

In addition to tourism information, the project also aims to provide more accurate population number for Revelstoke.

“This is just a super idea to try and gather correct data of who is in our community at any one given time,” said councillor Linda Nixon of the initiative during the July 10 council meeting.

The council report identified the unavailability of accurate population data as a key issue for Revelstoke, as there has been an influx of tourists and temporary workers residing in the city in recent years due to the success of the tourism industry.

In the 2016 Census, population for Revelstoke was recorded at 7,547 not including CSRD Area B, though this number has been seen as inaccurate in depicting the true population of the community.

RELATED: Revelstoke census data doesn’t show whole picture for community

According to the report, staff’s inability to properly access population data has impacted their ability to assess future community growth.

This has created challenges with regards to housing, transportation infrastructure, sanitation infrastructure, tourism infrastructure and social and emergency services.

The project comes with a total cost of $124,940 not including GST, of which $55,000 is to be allocated from the EOF.

The remaining $69,940 has been agreed to be covered through the $35,000 from the Revelstoke Accommodation Association, $20,000 from the Columbia Basin Trust and $5,000 each from Engineering staff, Development Services staff and Economic Development staff.

The council report identifies the project to be consistent with three goals identified in the 2016 Council Goals and Objectives, including “Planning for the Future,” “Safeguard Infrastructure” and “Economic Development and Business Support.”

City funds will be allocated from the EOF, a fund external from the city’s budget.

The EOF was first approved in 2001, aiming to provide assistance for projects “deemed worthy of support which stimulate economic development in the impacted area. “

TELUS, according to the report, was chosen for the project as they are the only provider who has access to the required data.

The report also mentions that Tourism Okanagan and Destination B.C. have taken part in similar projects with TELUS Insight over the last year.


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nathan.kunz@revelstokereview.com

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