It seems a reasonable observation that most residents of Newhaven are far from enthusiastic about the Bass Coast Shire Council (BCSC) proposal to build the Regional Skate Park within Richard Grayden Memorial Park.

They see their ‘patch’ being characterised by a small population, with mature aged/retired people and few children of school age and below.

Nearby Cape Woolamai is regarded as a larger town with younger demographics and with a larger proportion of school-age children.

Notwithstanding this, rumours, etc., abound about the correctness, or otherwise, of such perceptions. To provide clarity, the statistics from the 2016 Census should be the most appropriate source of population characteristics.

The fundamental myth to debunk is that the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) brackets the two areas together for statistical purposes.

It certainly does not – and so there is detailed data on each.

The 2016 Census is the source for official data and it will be 2021 when the next Census is held.

Interim estimates are made but the comprehensive 2016 figures do provide a good insight into current population characteristics.

As to Newhaven, this area extends beyond the ‘hamlet’ extensively beyond Boys Home Road to the west and south-west.

At Census time, the total population was 449, with a median age of 54, with 131 families, 314 private dwellings, 79 residents (18 per cent) from 0-19 years old and 130 (30.3 per cent) aged 65 and beyond.

Contrasting to this, Cape Woolamai had a much larger population of 1676 with the lower median age being 42, 456 families, 1695 private dwellings, 440 (26 per cent) of residents in the age range 0-19 and the 271 aged 65 and beyond amounted to just 16 per cent.

In the context of the total populations of the two areas, 21 per cent were from Newhaven and for those then up to 19 years of age just 15 per cent hailed from Newhaven.

Yes, Newhaven has a much smaller population, with a much smaller proportion of youth but a very much higher proportion of older folk.

I recall reading that the combined Newhaven-Cape Woolamai area has a population of older people below that of the entire shire.

If so, then this would be skewed by Cape Woolamai. In the 70-plus category, the figure for the shire overall of 18.7 per cent was exceeded by Newhaven on 19.4 per cent, yet Cape Woolamai’s figure was just 9.1 per cent.

Confused by the above? Putting it succinctly, ABS treats the areas separately: Newhaven’s population is very much smaller, has a significantly higher average age, but with a much smaller proportion of children and young folk, but a far greater proportion of older people.

Russell Riseley, Newhaven.