Look at Courtenay — all the way up to 93rd

It's a slow, steady rise, but it's in the right direction.
Coming in at nearly the middle of the list, Courtenay ranked 93rd on a list of MoneySense magazine's 180 Best Places to Live 2011, up seven spots from last year.

  • Oct. 4, 2011 7:00 p.m.

It’s a slow, steady rise, but it’s in the right direction.Coming in at nearly the middle of the list, Courtenay ranked 93rd on a list of MoneySense magazine’s 180 Best Places to Live 2011, up seven spots from last year.The Best Places to Live list measures what makes a Canadian city or town a great place to live, using census data to indicate livability. The data is compiled from cities or town with populations over 10,000 people.Cities were rated based on home affordability, climate, prosperity, crime rates, access to health care and lifestyle, with subcategories in each area.Points were also given for the categories of transit, amenities and culture. “It is encouraging that we did go up slightly,” said Mayor Greg Phelps of Courtenay, although he added that doesn’t believe lists such as this one play a big factor in whether people move to the Valley. “The younger people move here for opportunity, while older people move here for the retirement lifestyle,” he noted, as both Victoria and Parksville/Qualicum are either unaffordable or very expensive options.The top ranked city was Ottawa-Gatineau, with Victoria second, and Burlington, Ont., third.According to the rankings, Courtenay’s unemployment rate is eight per cent, while the per cent of population change from 2001 to 2006 increased by 8.9. Factors such as lifestyle, crime, health and weather are based on a series of points. For example, crime could be given five points, with violent crime rates (two points), total crime rates per 100,000 people (two points) and crime severity rates (one point) calculated from the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (lower is better in all three cases).Weather is based upon 18 points, with six points each for amount of precipitation, number of wet days, days below zero degrees. Walk/bike to work was assigned seven points, air quality two points, population growth 10 points, unemployment 10 points, housing 15 points, household income four points, discretionary income four points, new cars four points, income taxes two points, sales tax one point, doctors six points, health professionals four points, amenities three points and culture was given up to five bonus points based on the percentage of people employed in arts, culture, recreation and sports.Phelps said the one area he would to see the city improve upon is housing and the availability of affordable housing. By comparison, Campbell River placed 175th, Powell River 168th, Parksville 132nd and Port Alberni 172nd. For more information and a complete breakdown of the cities on the list, visit www.moneysense.ca/2011/03/29/best-places-to-live-2011.photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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