MoneySense ranks Lacombe 17th

If you’re looking for a place to plant your roots, Lacombe offers pretty fertile ground, according to MoneySense magazine.

If you’re looking for a place to plant your roots, Lacombe offers pretty fertile ground, according to MoneySense magazine.

The personal finance publication has ranked the Central Alberta city 17th on its 2014 list of the best places to live in Canada — nine positions below the number 8 spot that Lacombe held last year.

“We would have liked to stay in the top 10, but I think for a community our size to be in the top 20 for the second year in a row, it was a fair position for us,” said Guy Lapointe, the city’s community and economic development manager.

Red Deer came in at number 33 on this year’s MoneySense list, an improvement from 38th place in 2013. Sylvan Lake was ranked 159th, down from 93 last year.

In 2012, Red Deer was ninth, Lacombe 26th and Sylvan Lake 139th.

St. Albert was declared the best place to live this year, with Calgary number 2 and Strathcona County third. Rounding out the top five were Ottawa and Burlington, Ont.

Edmonton was eighth, Lethbridge 34th, Grande Prairie 51st, Medicine Hat 78th and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo 139th.

The rankings were based on a list of 34 criteria, including employment, income levels, population growth, housing costs, taxes, weather, crime, access to health care and employment in the arts, culture, recreation and sports.

The Central Alberta communities all scored well in population growth (with Lacombe seventh overall in this category) but lost ground when it came to temperature.

In the case of crime rates over the past five years, a 29.6 per cent reduction earned Lacombe one of the best scores, while Red Deer was at other end of the spectrum, thanks to a 43.2 per cent increase in crime.

Red Deer also lost ground for its 11th-worst placement on the crime severity index.

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer said she’s pleased with her city’s improved placement relative to 2013. She added that concerns about crime are something she and her council take seriously.

“Whether it’s a perception or reality, with respect to crime I think it’s absolutely imperative that we address that.”

Veer listed a number of recent initiatives the city has taken in this regard, including funding for the Central Alberta crime prevention centre, the adoption of a proactive approach to policing, and investment in the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT), which targets organized crime.

“While in a general sense, our crime rate statistics on both the property and persons crime are in a downward trend, I think if crime and crime-related concerns are diminishing our overall ranking in articles such as this, then obviously it tells me we’re on the right path in terms of identifying crime as an issue and facing it head-on.”

Joanne Gaudet, Sylvan Lake’s communications officer, thinks her town is also taking steps that will improve its scores on a number of MoneySense’s criteria.

These include business rejuvenation initiatives and lobbying for an urgent care facility.

She also pointed out that a process that amounts to an accounting exercise may not be the best way to evaluate a community.

“You do have to remind yourself that we’re looking at statistics and numbers, and they’re being put together by someone in an office that doesn’t necessarily consider the fact that someone is here because it’s a great community and we have great neighbours.

“I certainly don’t recall in any of my previous relocation efforts looking up a MoneySense list and thinking, ‘Well, maybe I should live here instead.’”

Lapointe attributed Lacombe’s strong showing to the fact it scored reasonably well across all of MoneySense’s categories. The city has done well three years in a row shows that its performance is not a statistical blip, he added.

“You don’t want to hang your hat on one publication, but we do use it in our marketing efforts.”

The MoneySense rankings and related stories can be found online at www.moneysense.ca. They will also be published in the magazine’s April issue.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

David Eggen, the NDP’s advanced education critic, said the UCP government has been focused on cutting funding to post-secondary institutions across Alberta. (Contributed photo)
NDP worry new status for Red Deer College doesn’t mean more funding

This week the province announced that RDC will become a polytechnic institute

(Black Press file photo.)
Olds College to welcome students with developmental disabilities

Students with developmental disabilities will soon be able to study at Olds… Continue reading

Hairdresser Frankie Genereaux applies some foils to Ellen Walker’s hair on Thursday at Abbey Road Hair Studio in Red Deer. Most salons have run out of appointments as clients seek to get in before a three-week temporary closure order takes effect on Sunday. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
Third temporary closure order frustrates Red Deer hair salons

It’s hard on small business, says an owner

Innisfail mayoral candidate Glen Carritt posted an election sign last month that raised hackles among some. Town council is looking at tightening up its regulations so that election signs cannot be planted more than 45 days before the Oct. 18 election. Photo from Glen Carritt’s Facebook page
Innisfail beefs up election sign regulations

Bylaw prompted by complaints signs for October municipal election already going up

The SuperHEROS program was born in 2018 and will arrive in central Alberta in the fall, giving kids with physical and cognitive challenges a chance to participate in a modified hockey program. (Photo courtesy of HEROS Hockey)
Kids with disbilities can play hockey: SuperHEROS program to arrive in central Alberta

Program provides hockey opportunities for kids with physical and cognitive challenges

Nicholas Marcus Thompson is shown in Toronto on Thursday April 29, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Action needed to end anti-Black racism in public service: advocates

OTTAWA — The federal government must address anti-Black racism in the public… Continue reading

Victoria Police help BC conservation officers carry a cougar which was tranquilized in the backyard of an apartment building in the community of James Bay in Victoria, B.C., Monday, October 5, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Cougar believed to be responsible for B.C. attack killed: conservation service

AGASSIZ, B.C. — The British Columbia Conservation Officer Service says it believes… Continue reading

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Hospital investigating whether woman who died after AstraZeneca shot was turned away

EDMONTON — Officials with an Edmonton hospital say they’re investigating what happened… Continue reading

A sign is seen at a walk-in COVID-19 in Montreal on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
NACI chair says advice not meant to give AstraZeneca recipients vaccine remorse

OTTAWA — The chair of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization says… Continue reading

Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberals pressed to ease access to EI parental leave to help unemployed moms

OTTAWA — The federal government is being asked to give new and… Continue reading

An oil worker holds raw sand bitumen near Fort McMurray, Alta., on July 9, 2008. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta eases security payment burden for oilsands companies

EDMONTON — Alberta is changing how it calculates the payments oilsands mines… Continue reading

Most Read