The City of Cranbrook was placed 42nd of 46 by BC Business Magazine in their 2020 “Best Cities to Work in B.C.” ranking, consecutively falling in back-to-back years.

In the 2019 ranking, Cranbrook was placed 39th, falling three positions in the latest 2020 ranking. Although the 2019 ranking represented an even larger drop, as the community fell 27 positions down the chart from their 12th place position in 2018. Despite the decline, Mayor Lee Pratt isn’t fazed.

“I’m not worried at all,” Pratt told MyEastKootenayNow.com. “I would like steady population growth but not exponentially large, I like our housing prices to stay where they are in the affordable range, and I like our people to make a decent income and afford the standard of living here, that’s my concern more than what their criteria is.”

BC Business Magazine’s criteria for the rankings were broken down into 10 different categories. Eight of the categories were evenly weighted at 10% toward a city’s final ranking, while the five-year average for income growth per household was weighted at 15% and the average value of primary real estate was given a 5% weight. Only cities with a population exceeding 10,000 permanent residents were included in the final ranking. Here’s how Cranbrook faired with the full list of criteria:

CATEGORIES 2020 2019
Average Household Income $99,253 $98,501
Average Household Income Under 35 $86,644 $71,543
Five-Year Average Household Income Growth 20.2% 19.7%
Average Household Spending on Recreation $4,081 $4,402
Average Shelter Spending $19,069 $19,404
Average Value of Primary Real Estate $314,988 $330,011
Average Commute Time in Minutes 18.4 17.6
Five-Year Population Growth 1.5% 2.8%
Housing Starts Per 10,000 Residents 49.5 9.8
Unemployment Rate 6.6% 7.2%

Mayor Lee Pratt believes Cranbrook is still in good shape despite the dip in the rankings, and that cities like Squamish (#1) and Whistler (#2), got the higher score due to their larger household incomes and population growth.

“If they see that there’s more people there than maybe they got more people to sell to, if they have a higher income well maybe they’ve got more money to spend, so from a business side it might look attractive to go there to open up a business and I think that’s what they’re leaning towards is that criteria,” said Pratt. “What we’re looking for is we want people to know that we’re open for business and we’d rather be noted as a good steady place to do business, so we don’t have the peaks and valleys.”Mayor Lee Pratt believes Cranbrook is still in good shape despite the dip in the rankings, and that cities like Squamish (#1) and Whistler (#2), got the higher score due to their larger household incomes and population growth.

Notable cities in the rankings saw Kelowna (#5) stay put from the 2019 ranking, Vancouver (#37) drop six spots, Kamloops (#34) climb three positions, and Prince George (#44) fall 18 spots.

Pratt said that although they want the Cranbrook to grow, they don’t want a massive jump that may put a negative amount of pressure on the community and the municipality.

“If we had 2,000 people all of a sudden come to Cranbrook we’d have to improve our infrastructure immensely and we wouldn’t have the immediate resources or the funding to do that. Over time if they buy houses and you increase your housing and that you get more tax revenue but initially it would create a major problem for us.”

BC Business Magazine said that “gloomy signals from the forestry and real estate sectors” were figured in the assessment and placed big factors in why a number of cities were underperforming rather than overachieving.

Williams Lake (#46) was ranked last place by BC Business Magazine in the rankings.