Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer

Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer

Wetaskiwin is highest ranked central Alberta community on MacLean’s Best Communities

MacLean’s magazine recently released its annual Best Communities list for 2021. The list ranks 415 municipalities across the country based on affordability, population growth, taxes, crime, weather, health, amenities, community and internet access.

Wetaskiwin was ranked 134 on the list, making it the highest-ranking central Alberta community.

According to the list Wetaskiwin’s top feature is its internet access, followed by taxes and affordability.

MacLean’s has the city’s population at 13, 650 people, with an average value of primary real estate at $215,646. Property tax as a percentage of average income is 1.6 per cent and provincial tax rate of the average family is 40 per cent.

Weather factors show there are 110 days per year with rain or snow, 152 days per year above 0 C and 88 days per year above 20 C. Health, safety and community factors listed show the five-year average crime severity index in the area covered by local police is 268.

This is higher than the national average of 73.

Based on testing by the Canadian Internet Registration authority, 25 members within a Wetaskiwin household are able to do remote work or school on a single internet connection.

On the list Lacombe is ranked 228th, Sylvan Lake is 318th, Red Deer County comes in at 363rd, Lacombe County is 393rd, Mountain View County is 394th, Clearwater County is 412th and Wetaskiwin County is 414th.

The idea behind Maclean’s Best Communities ranking is that while there are many intangible things that determine quality of life that can’t be quantified and measured, a lot of tangible things can be,” an article on the MacLean’s website said.

“In our inaugural edition of the ranking, we gathered data on 415 communities across the country and compared them based on categories we thought would be most important to the average person. Then the pandemic hit, and people’s priorities changed.”

A revamped ranking system assumes remote work is here to stay. “We eliminated categories assessing the local economy, since remote workers won’t have to look for a nearby job, and added a category assessing internet quality.

“We also streamlined some categories. For example, we eliminated rent data in the affordability category, since rents and property prices are closely correlated and it’s safe to assume a community with high housing prices will also have expensive rents.”

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