MacLean's Ranks MV County Last On Best Communities In Canada List, MLA Sends Letter To Editor

Nathan Cooper can't think of anything more ridiculous than seeing MacLean's magazine ranking Mountain View County last on a list of the Best Communities in Canada. The Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA says it is very clear that no one from MacLean's has ever stepped foot in Mountain View County.

The Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA says it is a real shame to see MacLean's magazine put Mountain View County last out of 415 municipalities on its inaugural Best Communities in Canada rankings.

Nathan Cooper says MacLean's is comparing Mountain View County to other cities or urban municipalities with populations of over 10,000 people.

MLA Cooper - who is also the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta - has sent a letter to the editors of MacLean's magazine to set the record straight and has invited them to come out to Mountain View County to see for themselves how much this area has to offer.

The national magazine gathered data on 415 municipalities. The following categories were used to compare them: wealth and economy, affordability, population growth, taxes, commute, crime, weather, access to health care, amenities and culture.

Burlington, Ontario ranked first on the list of Canada's best communities.

St. Albert was the top Alberta city as it came in at number 23. Calgary was 33rd, Edmonton 79th and Red Deer 271st.

Rocky View County was 226th on the list, Red Deer County was 306th and Clearwater County was number 406.

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**(Letter submitted by Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA Nathan Cooper to MacLean's magazine)**

Dear Editor,

As the Alberta provincial representative for the excellent constituency of Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills, I am writing today to take issue with your recent feature regarding “Canada’s Best Communities 2019.”

It seems you have listed Mountain View County as the lowest of 415 municipalities based on some faulty information. Unlike the majority of the communities listed, MVC is a larger rural municipality, surrounding five significant population centres, none of which were included in your list. As a result, the statistics you have used are quite misleading. 

Is the region's population 13,000, or is it closing in on 40,000? Does Mountain View County have no doctor’s office, or does it include three hospitals and a number of offices in Olds, Didsbury, Sundre, Cartstairs, and Cremona? 

I would also take issue with the mobility factors assessment. As a large rural region measured at nearly 4,000 square kilometres where the leading industry is agriculture, it is probably true that zero percent of people ride bicycles to work. That’s not surprising; bicycles don’t pull cattle trailers.

However, if you were comparing apples to apples, and included all of the various towns and villages in this assessment, you would find that there are several transportation options, including one of my favourites: the Sunshine Bus in Olds, that specifically serves people with mobility issues and seniors five days a week.

Here are some other things you missed: 

• Sundre and the surrounding area includes some of the most beautiful wildlands in Alberta, where visitors can hike, raft, ride horses, camp, quad, and experience nature. Together with our many excellent public golf courses, our beloved local junior hockey teams, and the world’s leading Bavarian pro rodeo, I expect you have underestimated our arts and recreation sector.

• Olds is home to the majority of government services serving this region, including the Olds College. Thanks in part to the renowned applied research division it is becoming known as one of Canada’s leading Smart Agriculture institutions. Excluding Olds College from the surrounding farming community isn’t particularly useful. The institution, founded in 1913, wouldn’t be in operation today if not for the farming community.

We have a saying around these parts, “Strong families build strong communities, and strong communities support strong families.” 

Attempting to describe Mountain View County in isolation of the towns and villages makes about as much sense as crafting a federal equalization formula that includes western oil and gas revenues, while excluding the true value of central and eastern hydro energy revenues. Where’s the fairness?

Sincerely,
Hon. Nathan Cooper,
MLA, Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly

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