Red Deer has bragging rights as one of the best places to work in Canada, according to a MoneySense magazine survey.
The city ranks 10th out of 154 communities in the fourth annual survey that will appear in the May issue. Calgary topped the list followed by Brooks, Cold Lake, Grande Prairie, Edmonton, Estevan, Sask., Levis, Que., and Winnipeg, Man.
The magazine says it came up with its list by putting emphasis on places with good salaries and above-average discretionary incomes. Crime statistics weren’t factored in because they tend to matter less to the career-minded.
Weather is also not taken into account — which can only be considered a plus in the chilly spring Red Deer has been suffering through so far.
Red Deer Chamber of Commerce president Mike Axworthy isn’t surprised by the ranking, but is even more bullish on the city’s business friendliness.
“To be honest, I’m surprised we didn’t get higher. I find this is a fantastic place to be,” said Axworthy, who operates Ax Computer Consulting, a custom software development business.
Among the intangibles that Red Deer has going for it is a “let’s get it done attitude.
“There’s a lot of real go-getters out there.”
To his mind, Red Deer out paces bigger bergs like Calgary because of our short commutes and other quality of life issues, which weren’t considered by the magazine in the work chart.
However, he agrees there’s no question that 10th spot doesn’t hurt when the economic development folks are pitching the community to outsiders.
Among the factors that worked in Red Deer’s favour is an average household income of $92,836, 18th best, according to the survey. The city also ranks 19th in household discretionary income, which sits at 29.4 per cent.
Red Deer’s record is not too shabby on MoneySense’s rating of Canada’s Best Places to Live, ranking 58th out of 154 communities.
Rankings are based on economic factors, such as income, percentage of new cars on the road and unemployment. Affordable housing, weather and air quality are also factored in as well as a slew of lifestyle issues such as crime rates, the number of doctors, public transit use and a category termed “buzz,” or the percentage of people employed in culture, arts and sports.
Victoria, B.C., tops the best places list with the Ontario cities of Ottawa, Kingston and Burlington taking the next three spots. Vancouver ranks fifth. Bringing up the bottom of the list are New Glasgow, N.S, Quesnel, B.C, and Williams Lake, B.C.
Acting mayor Larry Pimm said the city’s best place to work ranking is good, but there’s no way Red Deer should rank 58th on the overall list.
“They blew it on that one,” he said.
He wonders if climate might have bumped the city down the list. But as an avid cross-country skier, Pimm has got no problem with living in a city with winters.
Pimm also sees some potential in the MoneySense research to help promote the city. It goes hand in hand with the Toronto Dominion Bank report of a few years ago that showed the city was slap dab in the middle of the economic powerhouse Edmonton-Calgary corridor.
“This confirms that I would think,” he said.