Editorial — April 3, 2014

Staff ~ The Prince Albert Daily Herald
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A pair of rankings have cast this city in a very different light recently.

We’re guessing that nobody was shocked when they read the story in Wednesday’s Daily Herald in which city officials were quick to praise the positive study and equally speedy in shooting down the bad one.

In case you missed, here’s what we learned.

In the 2014 KPMG Competitive Alternatives Study, Prince Albert ranked in the top third of 133 cities, placing 14th internationally for cost competitiveness and 11th among the 32 Canadian cities included.

A second study wasn’t quite as glowing.

In its April 2014 issue featuring its annual ranking of the best cities to live in Canada, MoneySense magazine ranked Prince Albert in 184th place among 201 cities, down from 175th place last year.

Let’s deal with the MoneySense study first.

If a study is an oak tree, the axe is pointing out flawed statistics. And that’s the approach that was taken.

Chamber of Commerce CEO Merle Lacert wondered if their number for the city’s jobless rate, 9.7 per cent, included the north of Saskatchewan and its chronically high unemployment.

It’s a valid question for a city with nearly 800 jobs listed on www.saskjobs.ca. It would seem that if you want work, unless it’s specialized, there is something out there for you.

The city’s solid but unspectacular growth was also pointed, perhaps more fairly.

The final stat was more puzzling. MoneySense suggested that the city’s average house price was $347,536 -- with an average of 4.39 years to buy a home in the city.

Lacert said a study done last fall put that average home price nearly $100,000 lower in the $250,000 range.

That’s a valid question, because a mistake of nearly 30 per cent would surely skew the results.

The 2014 KPMG Competitive Alternatives Study, meanwhile, measured “26 key cost components in each market, including costs associated with taxes, labor, facilities, transportation and utilities, as they apply to seven different business-to-business service sector operations and 12 different manufacturing sector operations.”

Overall, it placed the city in Canada, which is obviously a terrific showing.

The fact that this international study had a more detailed statistical breakdown lends credence to its findings.

Of course the two studies measure different things so there could be truth in both despite their very different results.

Mayor Greg Dionne wasn’t shy about what he believed.

“Of course this (KPMG) one’s very positive and to me has more validity to it because when I looked at the other one, the price of housing was out by quite a bit,” Dionne told Daily Herald reporter Matt Gardner.

“So this one seems to be a lot better report, and of course it tells me that Prince Albert’s a good place to do business.”

We would have been disappointed if the mayor had answered any differently.

 

Prince Albert Daily Herald

Organizations: Prince Albert, Daily Herald, KPMG MoneySense magazine

Geographic location: Canada, Saskatchewan

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