NEW GLASGOW – MoneySense has released its rankings of best places to live in Canada and New Glasgow has all but bottomed out again this year.
This year, the finance magazine ranked New Glasgow 198 out of 201 communities across Canada. Last year the town ranked 196 out of 200 communities and was 190 out of 190 in 2012.
To be factual, MoneySense’s definition of New Glasgow is actually a Statistics Canada’s census agglomeration, which includes New Glasgow, Stellarton, Trenton, Westville, Pictou and parts of Pictou Landing First Nations.
Mark Brown, managing editor of reports and rankings for MoneySense, noted that just because you’re near the bottom of the list doesn’t mean you’re Canada’s worst place to live.
“That’s not the message here,” he said. “This ninth annual report looks at 34 different categories that help round out a community.”
Among these are net income, employment, household worth and home affordability along with crime rates, weather and culture. Brown noted that since New Glasgow has placed low for several years, it’s easy to identify some of the areas in need of improvement.
“The main things that are hurting New Glasgow is flat population growth, which shows there aren’t any new drivers pulling people into the community,” he said. “Unemployment is another, which is slightly higher than the national average while income levels and household net worth remain unchanged from last year.”
Areas with higher MoneySense rankings have population growth around eight per cent and unemployment levels under the national average, which is why, he said, the top of the list is full of cities and towns in Western Canada.
Receiving postcards from citizens of Pictou County last year indicated the area’s passion for community, Brown said.
“They talk about the great river fishing and the love for their town. Unfortunately, we can’t convert that into a number but we’re always trying looking at tweaks to the methodology.”
Brown defended the use of New Glasgow census agglomeration noting that there may be variations within each municipal unit, but it’s to be expected.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if you see variations. There are great variations within neighbourhoods in cities in some cases,” he said. “The bottom line is that this is representative of the area in general.”
The ranking, according to MoneySense, is a benchmark for towns and cities across the nation to see how they compare to each other. Still, passion remains from coast to coast in addressing the intangible things that make a community great.
“Believe me, if there was a way to measure the view of the mountains from Vancouver or living next to the Atlantic Ocean, we’d include it but there’s no way to put it into a number.”
MoneySense’s article noted that such characteristics—no matter how appealing—aren’t the point of the ranking.
“This isn’t the best places to visit, it’s the best places to live. If you’re going to plant roots somewhere we think there should be good access to medical care, low crime, good public transportation and, yes, nice weather.”
The number-one city in Canada was St. Albert, Alta. Only Lachute, Dolbeau-Mistassini, Que., and Port Alberni, B.C., were ranked lower than New Glasgow. Cape Breton did slightly better at 196 while Truro placed 191. Halifax was the highest ranked Nova Scotian location at 26.
The Town of New Glasgow did not did not respond to queriesby presstime.
On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn
New Glasgow Census Agglomeration
POPULATION GROWTH 2008 TO 2013: 0.40%
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE (%): 11.3
AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD INCOME: $62,756.48
AVERAGE DISCRETIONARY INCOME: $33,731.82
AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD NET WORTH: $184,614.00
AVERAGE HOUSE PRICES: $145,805.00
AVERAGE YEARS TO BUY A HOME: 2.32
PROPERTY TAX (%):1.92