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Alberta’s Best Communities for Business: #2 Lethbridge

In years of depressed oil prices, Lethbridge's diversified economy shines through the gloom

Jun 6, 2016

16-bcbLethbridge-story
In years of depressed oil prices, Lethbridge’s diversified economy shines through the gloom
By the Numbers

Population: 94,804
Population growth rate (2011-2015): 7%
Residential tax rate (mills): 7.6
Non-residential tax rate (mills): 18.2
Median home price: $325,750

Martha and Henry – Ralph Klein’s fictitious every-Albertan couple – might have been working in oil and gas for the last decade or so, but now, perhaps, they’re considering a move back to the family farm. And that farm would probably be near Lethbridge. Then, they’d convert it into a hobby farm and rent an office in the city for their new tech startup.

Lethbridge has never depended on oil-and-gas booms to buoy its economy; instead, it’s continued to grow because of its agricultural sector and the crucial R&D work coming from its post-secondary institutions, Lethbridge College and the University of Lethbridge. Companies like DuPont, Monsanto and PepsiCo do business there. And it’s home to a thriving network of entrepreneurs and technology firms, some of which, like BlackBridge, have been acquired by giant international firms.

But none of that is new – so why is Lethbridge one of Alberta’s best communities for business in 2016? Slow and steady, it continues to expand in both GDP and population growth. In 2015, the city reported its highest-ever value of building permits. And in the latest provincial budget, the University of Lethbridge received a remarkable $248 million for its new science and academic building, the Destination Project, not to mention a cool $24 million for the college’s Trades and Technology Renewal and Innovation Project. A recent KPMG report that measured cost-competitiveness ranked the city 23rd out of 133 communities worldwide. So if you’re looking for a great place to do business, visit Lethbridge. Ask for Martha and Henry.

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