The city of Saskatoon has added 5,000 residents in the last six months. ((CBC))

Saskatchewan's largest city has added 5,000 residents in the last six months, according to the latest population estimates, a growth spurt double what local officials had been expecting.

Saskatoon figures there are now 218,000 people in the prairie city. That is well ahead of the provincial capital, Regina, with 199,000 residents, according to the Regina Regional Economic Development Authority.

Saskatoon's rapid rate of population increase came as no surprise to that city's mayor, who said he expected the trend to continue.

"The provincial government has said they plan on having 10,000 more immigrants move to Saskatchewan over the next 18 months, [and] 60 per cent of those people are going to move to Saskatoon," Don Atchison told CBC News on Tuesday. "So those numbers alone tell you we are going to have some substantial growth once again."

Coping with more people can be a challenge for urban planners and civic administrators, as everything from roads to sewers to policing needs adjusting. Still, officials say the city has a growth plan for up to 400,000 people.


Don Atchison, Saskatoon's mayor, said he expects continued population growth in his city. ((CBC))

"The new infrastructure will always be a challenge, but  accommodating growth is a nice challenge to have," Randy Grauer, manager of planning and development for the city, told CBC News on Tuesday.

Grauer said with more people in Saskatoon, residents can look forward to some big-city amenities, such as better public transit and more flights into and out of the airport.