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.