NS: Halifax ‘stepping up’ with MoneySense ranking

Jennifer Taplin
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Metro Halifax

The city jumped up 17 spots on the magazine’s 'best places to live in Canada' list.

Workers walk past a Scotia Square window. - Ryan Taplin/Metro file photo

[HALIFAX, NS] — Fourth place doesn’t sound very exciting — it’s off the podium after all — but Mayor Peter Kelly is proud of Halifax’s ranking this year on MoneySense magazine’s best places to live in Canada.

It’s probably because Halifax jumped to fourth from last year’s placing of 21st.

“It’s nice to see they’re finally recognizing the options and the beauty of this area because it’s all there,” Kelly said. “We’ve known it for years and we’re stepping up there going from 21 to number four is a great jump.”

The personal finance and lifestyle magazine ranks 190 Canadian cities each year in categories such as house prices, crime rates, employment, and health care. Each city or town with a population of 10,000 people or more is ranked against 22 categories, which include climate, ease of travel, affordable housing, and population growth.

Halifax’s jump was due to gains in employment and population growth, the magazine said.

“The move was due to an improved unemployment rate (5.5 per cent) following growth in the transportation, education and service sectors,” the magazine reads.

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The city also gets high marks for the number of people who bicycle or walk to work, its affordable housing, decent public transit system, high household income, culture, and the number of health-care professionals and doctors.”

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ON THE FLIP SIDE

New Glasgow area again makes bottom of Moneysense rankings

[NEW GLASGOW, NS] — It’s safe to say that Moneysense magazine is not a favourite piece of reading material in New Glasgow Town Hall.

For the second year in a row, the finance magazine has ranked New Glasgow dead last on its annual list of Best Places to Live in Canada.

New Glasgow was ranked 190 on the list of 190 on the list released Tuesday. It’s the only community from Pictou County that made the list.

That’s not a popular opinion in the town hall, however.

“We are evaluated by the people of the community who choose to come here and to make this their home; that is what and who matters,” says Mayor Barrie MacMillan. “We do not agree with the methodology used and have been disappointed in it for years — it is not New Glasgow they have identified, it is not Pictou County — so who are they evaluating? It is unfortunate that they fail to understand what constitutes the town and what makes up the region.”

New Glasgow ranked highly in the affordable housing category, coming in at 28th, and was number 75 in the new cars category.

Other categories considered were the ability to walk or bike to work (135th); household income (172nd); discretionary income (176th); population growth (164th); low crime rate (150th); doctors per 1,000 residents (132nd); weather (162nd); jobless rate (182nd); and culture (138th).

Moneysense explains that the list of Best Places to Live for 2012 evaluates 190 cities, up from 180 last year, using information on the Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomeration areas, as defined by Statistics Canada.

The magazine then gives each city points in all of the categories. While a perfect score in all categories would give a city 105 points, Ottawa, the top city for 2012, only had 74.11 points. New Glasgow, ranked last, scored 33.8 points.

Each city is then ranked with all of the other cities to determine the best places to live overall.

Additional criteria this year included the best places to raise kids (New Glasgow ranked 189 out of 190), best places to retire (177th) and best places to find jobs (190th).

“Our comment is the same as other years — this is a fine town, a fine region and we are proud of the people and the work that is being done to build our community — we have challenges and we have successes but it is a great place with fine people, a strong entrepreneurial spirit, many assets and great promise,” MacMillan said. “We have independent evaluations with meaningful criteria that applauds many efforts and initiatives of the town and region. Statistical information like this is not going to capture the essence of a community and to compare a small town or even a small region with major cities makes no sense.”

That’s something that Jack Kyte, executive director of the Pictou Regional Development Association, agrees with.

“You’re comparing a small town, a rural way of life, to a city... and that’s not a valid comparison,” he said.

Kyte chooses to look at the positives — although New Glasgow was ranked 190th, there are thousands of spots in Canada that didn’t make the list at all.

“I’m not too upset at being 190th because I think people who live here remember why it’s such a great place to live,” he added.

The ranking, he said, likely doesn’t have much impact on whether people decide to move to the area.

“If they come to New Glasgow, see the area and meet the people... if we have something to offer that appeals to them... they’ll come here.”

Source: The New Glasgow Daily News

Organizations: MoneySense magazine, Statistics Canada, Pictou Regional Development Association Daily News

Geographic location: New Glasgow, Canada, Pictou County Ottawa

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