Mount Tolmie offers a fantastic view of Saanich

Saanich ranked Vancouver Island’s best city

MoneySense statistical analysis says immigrant-friendly community offers employment, health care, low crime and many amenities

According to Island Health statistics, Saanich residents have the highest incomes on Vancouver Island.

And they are among the least depressed.

So maybe it should come as no surprise a recent report by MoneySense magazine has determined Greater Victoria’s most populous municipality as the best place to live on Vancouver Island.

The annual report is based on a number of measurable factors including amenities, income, weather and affordability — 35 categories in total. It looked at 219 communities across the country and assigned each a score based on how they compared against the rest.

When they added up the totals, Saanich had finished 13th overall, significantly higher than its Island runner-up, Comox.

“Of course, was there any question?” acting Saanich mayor Vicki Sanders said, tongue only partly in cheek.

The 2016 ranking was news to her, although she is aware of the community scoring well in previous surveys. She said she appreciates the recognition, and having the numbers back up her personal observations.

“I feel proud as a person who grew up here,” she said.

MoneySense compiled the rankings using statistical data from Statistics Canada, Environics Analytics and other sources.

“While we can’t gauge many of the elements that people enjoy in their cities, the nearness of family, the friendliness of neighbours or even great sunsets, we have measured what can be measured and compared what can be compared,” report author Mark Brown said.

According to the report, which was released in June, Saanich scored among the top 25 per cent of Canadian cities in employment, access to health care, arts and sports opportunities, and crime rate. It finished in the top 10 cities overall for ease of access to walking, biking and transit.

It also received recognition as a great place for new Canadians, finishing sixth in the country in that respect. Employment, apartment rental costs, and an existing immigrant population of 17 per cent were cited as factors.

That was also news to Sanders, but not a surprise. She said the same standard of living, amenities and lifestyle balance that Saanich offers established Canadians also applies to immigrants, and it is complemented by a genuine community effort to welcome newcomers.

The Island’s top-ranked city finished fourth-overall in B.C. after West Vancouver (7 overall), North Vancouver (8), and Port Moody (11). The country’s top five cities were, in order, Ottawa, Burlington, and Oakville, Ont., St. Albert, Alta., and Boucherville, Que.

Among the report’s other interesting findings was that Victoria was ranked as the best place to retire in B.C. and the fifth-best place in the country — in part because of an average property tax of $1,026, a total of 3.73 doctors per 1,000 residents and an average of 319 days a year with temperatures above freezing. The magazine put special emphasis on senior-friendly considerations like low taxes, a thriving cultural community, quick access to an airport and plenty of doctors, when determining the retirement list.

Saanich was also the Island’s top city in the previous edition of the MoneySense report, finishing 12th overall in 2015. Vancouver Island cities in general slipped considerably on the overall list compared to 2015, most notably Victoria, Comox, Courtenay and Campbell River.

Some of those commenting online questioned the validity of a purely statistical exercise.

“I would say surveys like this are inaccurate. What people consider to be the best in a city would depend a great deal on what they value in life,” someone identifying themselves as Robert Grandfield wrote.

“These surveys are totally out of touch with reality. North and West Vancouver are nearly impossible to afford housing except to multi-millionaires. Victoria is fast going the same way. Nanaimo, population around 100,000 with a reasonably large hospital, gets no tick for health facilities or anything else including affordability,” A.J. Willcocks posted.

“Your researchers should spend at least a week in each city surveyed, I doubt they have actually visited any of them, just read up city stats on Wikipedia.”

 

How Island communities ranked

13. Saanich (12)

71. Comox (25)

91. Victoria (50)

153. Nanaimo (142)

162. Courtenay (129)

172. Parksville (178)

183. Duncan (171)

192. Campbell River (166)

210. Port Alberni (207)

— MoneySense magazine, last year’s rank in parentheses

 

Follow me on Twitter @JohnMcKinleyBP

Just Posted

UPDATE: Car rolls over coming around corner on Campbell River street

A witness said a car that rolled over onto its roof on… Continue reading

Campbell River RCMP continue search for missing teenager

The Campbell River RCMP have received “numerous tips” on the disappearance of… Continue reading

Search continues for missing Campbell River teen

Jordan Holling, 17, went missing almost a week ago, but the community is rallying to find him

Community rallying for family of missing 17 year-old

Ground searches, meals being prepared and thousands of posters have been circulated

Restoration work on destroyed Campbell River wetland expected to be complete next year

Remediation work on sensitive wetlands south of Jubilee Parkway is expected to… Continue reading

Mirror Morning Oct. 23

For the full story:Campbell River RCMP request help locating missing youth Community… Continue reading

B.C. NDP convention set for Victoria

Premier, federal leader Jagmeet Singh to add energy

Silver Creek farm search expands north

RCMP were seen collecting evidence three kilometres north of the farm where human remains were found

VIDEO: Motorcycle catches fire in Nanaimo traffic

Motorcyclist takes fast action to get burning bike off the road along the old Island Highway

Ferries re-routed due to fluid spill at Nanaimo’s Duke Point

At least one sailing from Tsawwassen to Duke Point was redirected to Departure Bay

Nanaimo man assaulted, tied up and robbed at his home

Incident occurred about 7 a.m. Monday, Oct. 23 at a home on Beverly Drive

B.C. school trustee calls LGBTQ school program ‘weapon of propaganda’

Chilliwack’s Barry Neufeld published the comments on his Facebook page

B.C. couple hope boat drone becomes first to cross Atlantic

Colin and Julie Angus of Victoria to have drone collect environmental data en route

B.C. casino accused of illegal activity follows rules: operator

B.C. had launched review after concerns about money laundering at River Rock casino in Richmond

Most Read