Livability will attract people to St. John’s: Board of Trade

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The quality of life in St. John’s should be on residents’ minds when they vote in the Sept. 24 municipal election, says the Board of Trade. — Telegram file photo

By The Telegram


The St. John’s Board of Trade wants voters to think about livability as they consider how to vote in next month’s municipal election.

“The concept of an ideal place to live is subjective at best; however, there are common underlying themes that are proven by research to create a place people are attracted to live,” said board chairman Denis Mahoney, according to a news release from the board Tuesday.

“More people means more business, growth, spending and tax dollars. And that goes double when you’re attracting young talent. Making this place a magnet for young talent will make our city thrive. First, we have to work to make this place more attractive.”

The board cites U.S. research that suggests social offerings, esthetics and openness are key indicators of attachment to a place, and that there’s an “extremely positive correlation” between attachment and economic growth.

The board also pointed to a 2012 ranking by MoneySense Magazine of the best places to live in Canada on factors including transportation, crime and affordability.

St. John’s placed 148th on the list of 190 Canadian cities. Calgary was No. 1.

“Today’s business climate is very different than it was a decade ago, even since our last election,” Mahoney stated in the news release. “We are no longer just competing with Paradise and C.B.S., or even Halifax, for business development, population growth and opportunity. Today, local business is competing with the world, and we know international businesses invest in places where they know their money will go further. We know young talent, and businesses that follow them, prefer to set up in places that are well-planned, livable and affordable.”

The board says St. John’s was comparable with Calgary on housing prices in the MoneySense ranking, but household income in

St. John’s was significantly lower.

Victoria Belbin, CEO of the Canadian Homebuilders’ Association Newfoundland and Labrador, said in the news release that housing affordability is key to making a city livable.

“Cities have to work to make housing — a cornerstone of every community — affordable to attract young talent looking to find their perfect first home,” she said.

Throughout the municipal election campaign, the Board of Trade, with several partners, including The Telegram, has been highlighting what it considers key issues for voters to consider when voting in the Sept. 24 election.

Organizations: Board of Trade, The Telegram, Association Newfoundland and Labrador

Geographic location: Calgary, U.S., Canada

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Recent comments

  • real westcoaster
    August 29, 2013 - 19:46

    "Better weather and scenery on the Avalon." Easterbunny you crack me up.

  • Turry from town
    August 29, 2013 - 12:01

    With all the economic activity happening on the NE Avalon all that is happening is the greedy developers and real estate agents are inflating the cost of housing, getting richer and making it unaffordable for new home buyers. At the same time causing escalation of the the property tax of existing home owners.Unless the Board of Trade recommends that businesses here pay the same wages as Alberta because the cost of living is the same.

  • Joe
    August 28, 2013 - 14:45

    Is this the third or fourth time I have seen this "news release". I still can't figure out what the point is supposed to be. First it was everyone should live in a 16 story high rise( with the exception of the B of T members who can are special). Now we are told we are as good as Calgary we just aren't paid as well so the city is not"affordable". Well B of T start increasing salaries and we will be in the high flyers. The Can Homebuilders' Ass making good profits on new homes wants to what(?) reduce the price of new homes so they are affordable. Well they can start by scaling back some of their profits. And I don't see any solutions from the old councilors who will allow just about anything in a residential zone and the new candidates who have very little experience in municipal planning. I don't believe that your highlighting the issues is anyway productive.

  • Jack
    August 28, 2013 - 13:12

    Housing is a very serious issue. I am a young professional that was brought to the island and I am finding it very difficult to find affordable housing for me and my dogs. It is already making me regret my decision to move here.

    • david
      August 29, 2013 - 12:38

      Hint: Get rid of your'll be shocked. Or keep them, and carry on with your delusions of entitlement.

  • Friendly Observation
    August 28, 2013 - 12:08

    As a resident of one of the United States' most progressive young cities who has had the unique opportunity to live in St Johns off and on for the past 4 years a few friendly suggestions which could assist in shoring up livability here: - mortgage and rents need to reflect no more than 30 to 40% of income. Until there is an abundance of recreational, social or cultural opportunities that do not cost big bucks to balance the lifestyle housing alone is a deal-breaker for most folks aspiring to live here. - better access to fresh and healthy foods. Tough one I know simply due to logistics but necessary. - clear your sidewalks in the winter. Walking in the streets throughout the winter is not an option for most especially families with children. - clean up! The fire-pits at the beaches are great. The nails, screws and other sharp metal items left behind from burning construction debris turn your beaches into a minefield. The glass is pretty unreal as well. The harbor smell is evident for blocks on some days and road-side trash an urban blight. - Allow non-Canadian citizens to do business here. NL is one of the only provinces in Canada with a moratorium on foreigners starting new businesses. Reduce the red-tape on new business overall. Rather provide incentive. - Better social/educational/sports options for kids. There are many, many new teachers coming out of MUN who cannot find work while most programs for kids here draw more kids than they can handle. Progressive, private schools can offer opportunities for both. Allowing progressive schools in a place such as NL where those who grow up here generally want to stay here is a real investment in the future. - Polish your landmarks. Heritage sites like Signal Hill are the places every visitor or local seeks out. Make sure they are spotless and the best they can be each and every day of the year. ....and a personal observation/request: Be nice and respectful to everyone. Throughout my time here I have clearly noticed a difference when strangers think I am a fellow Newfoundlander vs a Yankee. Hate to say, in general, folks treat me differently(better) when they learn I'm from the States. I am not complaining about that, however, it does factor into ones evaluation of a place if you are looking to live permanently. Lastly, please stop tolerating parking and idling at the front entrance/fire lanes to stores unless you are picking up large items, kids, handicapped or elderly. Many, many great days here in NL over the past several years. Thank you! A Newfoundlander will always be welcome at my campfire anywhere in the world.

  • Alex Easterbrook
    August 28, 2013 - 11:57

    Having spent time in Calgary and in St. John's and having read the article that says that Calgary is number 1 as a place to live versus St. John's at 148 my reaction is: that makes no sense whatsoever. If you like cowboys and the world's best rodeo then by all means go to Calgary. If you want better weather, smaller crowds, better's not Calgary. I think the two best places to live in Canada are at the opposite ends of the country: Vancouver area and Avalon Peninsula.

    • david
      August 28, 2013 - 15:36

      You are a funny guy.