Olds named one of best for business

Alberta Venture magazine has declared Olds one of the best communities for business in the province.

Alberta Venture magazine has declared Olds one of the best communities for business in the province.

The Edmonton-based publication ranked the town number 3 out of the 25 largest communities in Alberta, behind the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Grande Prairie. Red Deer placed 10th and Lacombe was 19th.

Alberta Venture used a number of criteria to evaluate the business-friendliness of each community, including property taxes and the cost of serviced industrial land.

It also looked at population growth and residents’ median age, as well as the percentage who had post-secondary education.

Olds’ population growth from 2012 to 2013 was 13.6 per cent, second only to Wood Buffalo.

At 41, the town’s median age was the fourth oldest, while the percentage of residents with post-secondary education was 55.8 per cent (18th).

The residential mill rate in Olds was 5.54 (13th) and the cost of industrial land there was $275,000 (10th).

An accompanying bio written by Alberta Venture about Olds praised the town’s new Pomeroy Inn & Suites at Olds College conference centre, and its community-owned, high-speed broadband network. Olds’ relatively low non-residential municipal tax rate and its proximity to Calgary were also noted.

Olds was the smallest community included in the Alberta Venture’s rankings.

Red Deer’s population growth was calculated at 5.7 per cent (eighth overall), its median age at 35 (ninth) and 57.4 per cent of its residents were found to have some post-secondary education (16th).

The city’s residential mill rate was 6.05 (15th) and the local cost of serviced industrial land was $300,000 per acre (12th).

Alberta Venture commented favourably on Red Deer’s diverse economy, and added: “Red Deer’s business operating costs have been ranked among the most competitive in the world by KPMG and the city has above-average levels of private sector investment.”

Lacombe was the only community out of the 25 to show a negative population growth from 2012 to 2013, at -0.2 per cent. Its median age was 37 (15th) and 60.2 per cent of its residents had some post-secondary education (13th).

Lacombe’s mill rate was 6.90 (19th) and the cost of industrial land there was $250,000 an acre (eighth).

Alberta Venture noted Lacombe’s “reasonable land and building costs,” as well as its downtown redevelopment — which as included the refurbishment of 35 heritage buildings.

Last year, Red Deer was on an Alberta Venture’s list of the 25 Best Communities For Business in Western Canada, and in 2011 the city and Olds were both included on that list.

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