Campbell River was recently named one of the top 10 worst places to live in Canada by MoneySense magazine – but Mayor Charlie Cornfield isn’t buying it.
“Tell people when they’re sitting in Tyee boats down at the spit (Dick Murphy Park) and the people that go down there to watch them, that this is a crappy place,” said Cornfield. “People choose to live in places that suit them for a variety of reasons.
“We who choose to live here – there’s a reason.”
But our spectacular ocean views and long lists of recreational opportunities obviously did not impress the writers at MoneySense financial magazine, who studied 180 communities across the country with populations of over 10,000.
Campbell River was ranked 175 out of 180 cities, with affordable housing singled out as the city’s biggest challenge.
MoneySense said the community is trying to rebuild itself as a home for retirees “but high unemployment and low average household income are stubborn obstacles to prosperity.”
According to the magazine, average real estate prices are higher than average at $336,000. Cornfield said if you’re looking to buy a home, it’s still cheaper to buy in Campbell River than in cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa. He also noted the number of real estate sales in Campbell River did not drop as much as in neighbouring communities last year.
As for having an economy in transition due to the loss of Catalyst mill, Cornfield said it makes you realize the potential for other industries the community may have not otherwise looked at.
“The community isn’t going to dry up and go away,” said Cornfield, who noted all of the city’s recent accomplishments including winning a national award for the green roof on City Hall; being named Solar Community of the Year; and being awarded the first tidal energy project in the province.
“I’ve lived and worked over a lot of places in the province and I’ll match Campbell River with anyone,” said Cornfield.
“But I guess I can breathe a sigh of relief that not everyone wants to live here or we wouldn’t have the room.”
MoneySense ranked the city’s weather as 128th; crime as 148th; and access to health care as 113th.
Population growth was the area where Campbell River had the highest ranking at 69th.
Other B.C. communities joining Campbell River on the worst place to live list are: Port Alberni (172), Quesnel (176); and Williams Lake (177).