Rank no reason for ‘doom and gloom’: mayor
Mayor Morris Flewwelling says Red Deer has always been placed in the top 20 per cent in the MoneySense magazine’s ranking of 200 cities in Canada.
Red Deer slipped to 38th place after making the top 10 in the best cities to live in Canada last year.
But Flewwelling said the drop is basically a return to its traditional ranking.
The city was ranked 96th in 2011 and 117th in 2010. The big jump to ninth place in 2012 was seen as a result of lower unemployment and a more moderate rate of population growth.
But Flewwelling pointed out Red Deer came in 12th of 46 best mid-sized cities of a population between 100,000 to 400,000. Red Deer is included on the list even though the city is a little shy of 100,000 residents.
“It ain’t all doom and gloom,” said Flewwelling. “When you drop points, it’s always disappointing and you wonder why.”
The cities are judged on a number of criteria, including employment, housing affordability, income, crime rates, access to health care and population growth.
Lacombe scored highest out of all the Central Alberta communities, moving up to eighth place from 26th.
Flewwelling said Red Deer and Lacombe are nearly bang on in the categories except for the crime severity index. Two homicides in 2012 played a part in Red Deer drop, said Flewwelling.
Despite the status quo ranking, Flewwelling said Red Deerians have a lot to brag about.
He said there are factors like days of sun and the climate that are out of the city’s control but there are other areas that are within its control.
In Red Deer, there’s very low unemployment, an average high household income of roughly $98,922 and modest housing costs compared to cities like Vancouver.
He did note that about 15 to 17 per cent of the population are struggling, which was made apparent in this past week’s Central Alberta Poverty Alliance conference.
“Life in Red Deer is pretty good for most people,” said Flewwelling.
“Eighty per cent of people are doing well economically and socially. We have a pretty buoyant community celebrating our 100th anniversary.”