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

Just Posted

Man dead in ATV collision in central Alberta

The Rocky Mountain House RCMP are investigating a quad rollover collision that… Continue reading

Homeless activists outside Notre Dame demand “a roof too”

PARIS — Dozens of public housing advocates are protesting outside the gutted… Continue reading

Tesla gears up for fully self-driving cars amid skepticism

SAN FRANCISCO — Tesla CEO Elon Musk appears poised to transform the… Continue reading

Grassy Narrows worries about fate of Trudeau Liberals’ promised treatment home

OTTAWA — The chief of a First Nation in northwestern Ontario long-plagued… Continue reading

P.E.I. Greens suspend activities after tragedy in campaign’s final days

CHARLOTTETOWN — With the provincial election campaign drawing to a close in… Continue reading

WATCH: An ‘Eggstemely Fun Easter’ at Bower Place in Red Deer

Bower Place mall made sure Red Deer families were able to have… Continue reading

Marchand scores twice as Bruins force a seventh game with 4-2 win over Leafs

TORONTO — After a flying start in front of a raucous home… Continue reading

Harry and Meghan’s royal baby: Questions asked and answered

LONDON — The time is drawing near for the impending birth of… Continue reading

Prince memoir ‘The Beautiful Ones’ coming out in the fall

NEW YORK — The memoir Prince was working on at the time… Continue reading

‘The Curse of La Llorona’ reigns over weekend box office

LOS ANGELES — “The Curse of La Llorona” (yuh-ROH’-nuh) had only good… Continue reading

New Brunswick premier urges caution as floodwaters continue to rise

FREDERICTON — Rising floodwaters have forced the closure of at least 25… Continue reading

Witnesses still struggling one year after deadly Yonge Street van attack

TORONTO — The survivor guilt settled in moments after he saw all… Continue reading

‘Shocking violation’: Parish prepares to re-bury remains after grave plundered

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Largely untended for decades, the toppled and faded… Continue reading

President attends Easter service following slew of tweets

PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump is using Easter morning to… Continue reading

Most Read