Lacombe surges into Top 10
Move over Red Deer — Lacombe is now one of Canada’s top 10 best places to live.
At least according to MoneySense magazine, which publishes the annual ranking of 200 communities across the nation.
Lacombe ranks eighth on this year’s list, one better than Red Deer achieved in 2012. This year Red Deer slipped to 38th, while Lacombe jumped 18 spots.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say we were really excited,” said Guy Lapointe, Lacombe’s community and economic development manager.
The recognition won’t hurt when trying to promote the community, he admits.
“We’ve already had a number of people commenting on social media, on Twitter, on Facebook,” he said.
“It certainly makes my job easier.”
Lapointe said MoneySense backs up its rankings with solid methodology.
“I think it’s a good representation of how a community functions.”
In its explanation of the ranking system, MoneySense says it puts significant weight on incomes and employment.
“After all, most people’s experience in a city is more positive when they have a high-paying job — and the ability to get a new one if they so choose,” says information posted on MoneySense’s website www.moneysense.ca
Communities where housing prices are affordable compared with local salaries were also ranked highly.
Of course, weather was also factored in, with communities getting the most sunny days, days above 0C and days without rain picking up points. Crime rates and the availability of doctors and good access to hospitals were other considerations. Property taxes as a percentage of household income, income taxes, the percentage of people who bike to work, jobless rate and percentage of people employed in arts and recreation and who own a new car were also reviewed.
Alberta does itself proud in the overall rankings, with Calgary ranked number one, followed by St. Albert. Strathcona County is fourth and Lethbridge ninth. Edmonton comes in 11th.
Sylvan Lake ranked 93rd, up from 139th spot a year ago.
“When you think about how many municipalities there are in the country to be 93 out of 200 is good news,” said Mayor Susan Samson, who was pleased to see her town move up a few notches.
Being in the middle of the pack isn’t so bad, and it provides room for improvement, she reasoned.
Samson though finds some of the statistics a little suspect. The town’s population growth from 2011 to 2012 is pegged at 3.57 per cent, which falls short of actual growth, which is around four to five per cent.
By comparison, Lacombe’s population growth is listed at 7.2 per cent.
“I know for a fact we’re growing faster than Lacombe is. Something’s a little wonky there.”