183rd place Duncan faces challenges, says Kent

The City of Duncan came just 183rd out of 219 Canadian cities listed as the best communities to live in the country in 2016

The City of Duncan came just 183rd out of 219 Canadian cities listed as the best communities to live in the country in 2016, according to a report by MoneySense magazine.

That’s a drop from the 171st position the city held last year in the annual rankings by the magazine.

The yearly report is based on 35 measurable factors, including amenities, income, weather and affordability.

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

It looked at the chosen 219 communities across the country and assigned each a score based on how they compared against the rest.

“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.

It’s a sentiment shared by Duncan mayor Phil Kent.

Kent said that while the report contains a significant amount of information on Duncan and the 218 other communities listed, much about the quality of life experienced in the Cowichan Valley can’t be quantified so simply.

“Most of the people I talk to who live here think it’s great,” he said.

“One gentleman from Duncan had spent a considerable amount of time visiting cities and communities all across Canada and he was telling me how grateful he was to be home when he returned.”

But Kent acknowledged the community, like many others on the Island and across the country, does face a number of challenges, including homelessness, income disparity and child poverty.

“We need to continue to work with senior levels of government to try and improve our city,” he said. “We’ll keep trying to make our community better, and as long as we’re striving to do that, it’s good for everyone here.”

When referring geographically to Duncan, the report takes in many of the surrounding areas as well, including sections of the Cowichan Valley Regional District and the Municipality of North Cowichan, and takes in almost 45,000 people.

According to the statistics compiled on Duncan and area, the community’s unemployment rate is 7.7 per cent, the median household income is $65,500, and the average discretionary income of a household is $39,000 per year.

The report also indicates that 3.2 per cent of Duncan’s employed population travels to work by walking, 0.8 per cent get there by bicycle and 1.1 per cent travel on transit.

As well, Duncan averages 294 days a year with temperatures greater than 0 C, with 100 of those days above 20 C.

Three cities in Ontario — Ottawa, Burlington and Oakville — took the top three spots, while three cities in Nova Scotia — Cape Breton, Truro and New Glasgow — were at the bottom.

Saanich, which came 13th overall in the report, was the top Island community in the listing, while Victoria came in at 91 and Nanaimo at 153.

Victoria dropped a whopping 41 points from last year, while Nanaimo slipped 11 points.

Just ninth from the bottom of the survey this year is the mid-Island community of Port Alberni, which came in at 210, a three-point drop from last year.

The full report can be accessed at www.moneysense.ca.

robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com