Red Deer’s top feature is its internet access, followed by taxes and amenities. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Red Deer’s top feature is its internet access, followed by taxes and amenities. (File photo by Advocate staff)

MacLean’s Best Communities list: Wetaskiwin tops central Alberta communities

The list features 415 Canadian communities

Red Deer is Canada’s 241st best community to live in, according to MacLean’s.

The magazine recently released its annual Best Communities list, which ranks 415 municipalities across the country based on affordability, population growth, taxes, crime, weather, health, amenities, community and internet access.

Red Deer’s top feature is its internet access, followed by taxes and amenities.

MacLean’s has the city’s population at 108,516 people, with an average value of primary real estate at $324,135. Property tax as a percentage of average income is 1.5 per cent and provincial tax rate of the average family is 40 per cent.

Weather factors show there are 119 days per year with rain or snow, 152 days per year above 0 C and 83 days per year above 20 C.

Health, safety and community factors listed show the five-year average crime severity index in the area covered by local police is 197 – this is higher than the national average of 73. There are 149 doctors’ offices per 100,000 residents.

Based on testing by the Canadian Internet Registration authority, 19 members within a Red Deer household are able to do remote work or school on a single internet connection.

Wetaskiwin, at 134, is the highest-ranked central Alberta community. Lacombe is ranked 228th, Sylvan Lake is 318th, Rocky View County is 332nd, Red Deer County comes in at 362nd, Lacombe County is 393rd, Mountain View County is 394th, Clearwater County is 412th and Wetaskiwin County is 414th.

Alberta rankings include Medicine Hat at 21st, Calgary at 31st, High River at 47th, Cochrane at 85th, Leduc at 94th, Airdrie at 116th, Canmore at 149th and Lethbridge at 133rd.

“The idea behind Maclean’s Best Communities ranking is that while there are many intangible things that determine quality of life that can’t be quantified and measured, a lot of tangible things can be,” an article on the MacLean’s website said.

“In our inaugural edition of the ranking, we gathered data on 415 communities across the country and compared them based on categories we thought would be most important to the average person. Then the pandemic hit, and people’s priorities changed.”

A revamped ranking system assumes remote work is here to stay.

“We eliminated categories assessing the local economy, since remote workers won’t have to look for a nearby job, and added a category assessing internet quality.

“We also streamlined some categories. For example, we eliminated rent data in the affordability category, since rents and property prices are closely correlated and it’s safe to assume a community with high housing prices will also have expensive rents.”

Here are the top 10 Best Communities which includes two Alberta communities:

1) Halifax, N.S.

2) Frederiction, N.B.

3) St. Thomas, Ont.

4) Belleville, Ont.

5) Edmonton, Alta.

6) Winnipeg, Man.

7) Moncton, N.B.

8) Cornwall, Ont.

9) Brooks, Alta.

10) Charlottetown, P.E.I.

To see the full rankings, visit www.macleans.ca/canadas-best-communities-in-2021-full-ranking.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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