St. Albert no longer stands as Alberta’s top place to live.
MoneySense, an online personal lifestyle and finance magazine, recently released its annual rankings of Best Places to Live in Alberta and in Canada. On the list, St. Albert fell to fifth-best place to live in the province.
Nationally, St. Albert dropped by 12 spots. The city now sits as the 19th-best place to live in Canada, down from seventh place last year.
MoneySense editor Claire Brownell said part of the drop can be attributed to a new weighting system. This year the magazine looked at population trends of municipalities across Canada.
“I changed to a ‘growth is good’ mentality, just thinking if people are moving somewhere in droves, there’s probably a reason that they’re moving there,” she said.
According to Statistics Canada’s 2016 federal census – which the magazine used to measure population – St. Albert grew by 6.7 per cent in five years. By 2016 the city’s population hit 65,589, up from 61,466 people in 2011.
Oakville Ont., which took the top place to live in Canada, had a population growth of 7.9 per cent. Lacombe, Alta., which nabbed best place to live in Alberta, grew by 9.1 per cent over five years.
Brownell also warned that the results of the study aren’t directly comparable to previous years, since the latest one included a new category: wait times for medical procedures.
Procedure wait times for the study included cataract surgery, breast cancer surgery, lung cancer surgery, colorectal cancer surgery, bladder cancer surgery, radiation therapy, hip fracture repair, prostate cancer surgery and bypass surgery.
Additionally, it also looked at hip and knee replacement wait times.
In an email Mayor Cathy Heron noted that wait times are a struggle for the city.
“While we have an excellent hospital and access to health care and this is accounted for metro health region and provincial wait times are used. No Alberta city made the top 100 for health care. The city has no control over health care,” she wrote.
St. Albert MLA Marie Renaud said people travel from across the region to access health services at Sturgeon Hospital, which has added to the length of time people are waiting.
“You have other communities that are coming in here, so as all these areas are growing I think there’s an increased pressure on Sturgeon,” she said. “Is there more that we could do? I mean there always is.”
But Brownell said overall placing in the top 20 across Canada is still something to be proud of. The magazine examined data provided by marketing firm Environics Analytics and national data websites for 415 municipalities across the country.
“The city has so much to offer for families,” she said. “St. Albert is an incredible community.”
St. Albert’s most notable features listed were its home affordability relative to household income, demographics – which include diversity and age – and its amenities.