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LETTER: Crow count shows how census can be wrong

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A municipal news release states that Chatham-Kent’s population has risen from 102,042 to 104,316, an increase of 2,274, as calculated by Statistics Canada. According to the municipality, Chatham-Kent has made decisions in the past based on such statistics. But that would be folly.

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An example of faulty statistics occurred years ago when our crow population was supposedly counted. Various groups were retained and they came up with figures such as 371,361 crows or thereabouts.

I challenged that number. Specifically obtaining a figure to the nearest crow is silly. Yet council and administration used that figure to determine their next move, ultimately at taxpayer expense.

Such reporting is completely off the charts and shows a lack of accountability by a local government system.

We did our own crow count. We counted crows when the entire flock was roosting at night, over a three-month period. We used roosting maps and accurately counted sections of that map.

You cannot count flocks on the fly or widely separated in fields due to variations in flock movements every four to six hours. Additionally, parts of the flock move out of area for days at a time.

By the way, at the peak of our crow count we had no more than an estimated 12,400 as determined through forensic counting. Our current population has declined somewhat to a consistent number.

I find the same problems with the alleged population growth for Chatham as being 2,274. Are we sure it’s not 2,273 or 2,275? We have people moving in and people moving out every day. What numerate method is Chatham-Kent and/or Stats Canada using to determine – in this case, a population growth of 2,274 – a number exact to the person?

I suppose one way to roughly determine any added or current people count for our area is to keep accurate health card counts. But then again, and once again, as people come in people are also leaving.

Any level of accurate census must be taken by accurately averaging numbers of people over a year’s time and then that census must be taken every year quarter.

Working with and suggesting a figure of 2,274 is not responsible.

Chatham-Kent’s council and administration should not base their operational or management direction on this number or any number that seems pulled from the sky or crow flyway.

John K. Cryderman

Chatham

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