UPDATE: The MoneySense Canada’s Best Places to Live list mistakenly switched the city and county of Grande Prairie. They have since been corrected and this article has been updated to reflect the proper rankings and information.
Grande Prairie has again dropped in the annual rankings of Canada’s Best Places to Live. It fell from 176th to 237th place in the 2017 MoneySense survey, but the field nearly doubled at the same time.
2016’s list included 219 cities across Canada, which was expanded to include places with a population as low as 9,000, boosting the total number to 417. The County of Grande Prairie was included for the first time ever, ranked 307th.
The magazine compiles the list every year, measuring how great a city is to live in by statistics dealing with weather, wealth, and crime. Everything from unemployment rates, property tax, and participation in arts and culture are put together, based on demographic data from Environics Analytics.
Both local communities made the list of the 100 places with the lowest taxes, with the City coming in 30th with a 1.14 per cent property tax. The average paid by a home owner is $1,575.06, while income tax is at $9,110.
County residents are looking at the same income tax, while paying an average of $2,302.20. The municipality came in with the 64th lowest taxes, with a property tax rate of 1.36 per cent. To determine how much of a burden the property tax was to the average homeowner MoneySense calculated how much of the average household income goes towards paying property tax.
Along with their low taxes, both regions had their high wealth and income considered one of their top features. The median income in the city is $110,179, while the county’s is $111,114.
Another positive for the city is that it is transit friendly, with 2.5 per cent of residents taking public transit to work, 2.4 per cent walking, and 0.6 per cent riding their bike. The county got high marks for home affordability, with the average value of primary real estate at $516,620. The value is based on the ratio to average household income.
While the magazine doesn’t include information on what caused Grande Prairie to drop in the rankings, its crime rate likely has something to do with it. Based on Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, the city has 20,405 crimes reported for every 100,000 residents, up 29 per cent in the past five years. Its crime severity index is 211.6, while its violent crime severity index is 187.4.
Meanwhile, the county has seen a 107 per cent increase in crime over the past five years, with 10,875 crimes reported per 100,000 residents. Its crime severity index is 168.1 and its violent crime severity index is 170.
The two communities also have less than optimal access to health care, aren’t ranked well when it comes to good weather and unemployment rates, and could use stronger arts and sports communities.