Weyburn remains as ‘Best Place on the Prairies’

For the second year in a row, the City of Weyburn has been ranked as the “Best Place to Live” on the Prairies, in a nation-wide ranking of communities by MoneySense magazine released last week.

In the ranking across Canada, Weyburn is now ranked 33rd out of 415 communities, which is down from the ranking as the 5th best place last year.

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In the category of Best Place to Raise a Family, Weyburn is the No. 1 community on the Prairies.

“That ranking was really good, and it’s because of two things. One, the citizens, in how they work as a community, and two, because of the city staff and city workers, including our police and fire,” said Mayor Marcel Roy of the city’s ranking.

He added that this is most evident in how people pull together to help each other.

“We watch out for each other,” he said, adding that Weyburn has a lot going on with many good facilities for culture and recreation. Mayor Roy also noted there have been a lot of good athletes come out of Weyburn, and this is due to the good coaching and their dedication to the youth of the city.

Factors in determining Weyburn as the “Best Place to Live” on the Prairies included Weyburn’s average household income of $126,000, which is the 50th highest in the country, due in part to an unemployment rate in March 2018 of 5.5 per cent. Weyburn is also among the top 10 cities for affordability, with the average primary residence valued at $302,000, and an average annual property tax bill of $2,590.

Even factors like the percentage of residents who walk to work (five per cent), the number of doctors offices (six), the population employed in arts and recreation (1.2 per cent) and the weather were counted in. Weyburn has 136 days with rain or snow, 169 days above 0 degrees, and 110 days above 20 degrees. The crime rate (of 7,809 per 100,000 population) was also a factor.

“The recovery of the oil and gas industry has been good news for the community, where that industry and agriculture — it’s the largest inland grain-gathering point in Canada — drive the economy,” said writer Claire Brownell of MoneySense.

The ranking of the best places to raise children is based on the same categories as the main Best Places to Live ranking, but with the weightings adjusted to reflect the needs and interests of families.

The magazine awarded points to cities with a large percentage of the population under the age of 15 and a large percentage of families with children. Weyburn has a population of 21 per cent under the age of 15, and is ranked 40th nationally for raising a family. This category also considered the importance of a low crime rate, access to and cost of childcare.

“We rank how each city measures up in 10 categories: Wealth and economy, affordability, population growth, taxes, commute, crime, weather, access to health care, amenities and culture. We give each category a weight out of a total of 100 possible points, making categories we think are most important to average people worth the most points,” said Brownell in explaining how the rankings are determined.

Unless otherwise noted, the magazine awarded points by ranking all 415 cities in each sub-category, giving full points to the city that does the best, close to zero points to the city that does the worst and something in between for the rest of the cities on a curve. In cases where data was not available for every city, they substituted a comparable value — for example, for cities where there was no data on rental prices, they substituted the weighted average of rental prices in the same economic region.

In the category as a place to retire, they noted Weyburn has a two-per-cent property tax rate, and has 77 doctors per 100,000 population as part of the factors for seniors.