Recently ranked by Maclean’s magazine as the Canadian community with the 19th highest overall crime problem, Lethbridge has seen a significant rise in drug-trafficking, break and enters and fraud in recent years.
But so far, experts say those trends aren’t affecting the community’s economic growth.
“There’s lots of reasons to still be optimistic about Lethbridge,” said Trevor Lewington, the CEO of Economic Development Lethbridge. “The fundamentals of Lethbridge and the economy are still very positive.”
Lewington says that this year, the city is seeing job prospects and businesses grow and that Lethbridge holds the lowest unemployment rate in Alberta at 4.1 per cent.
“We have lots of employment prospects relative to other communities, we have the lowest unemployment rate — meaning it’s a very tight labour market, meaning there’s opportunities for jobseekers,” he said.
“Lethbridge continues to be a really great place to do business,” added Krisite Kruger, president of the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce.
“There’s so much opportunity with the diverse economic impact that little Lethbridge could have on our province and country, and I think we’re just starting to get to the tip of the iceberg.”
A national survey by Century 21 Real Estate suggests Lethbridge is also one of the most cost-effective cities in Alberta for homebuyers, with an average price of $193 per square foot, compared to $294 in Calgary and $276 in Red Deer.
“We have a great home-buying market here,” Lewington said. “We have one of the lowest costs in Alberta and we have well-built houses,”
And while the recent Maclean’s report may be a concern for some, others are still happy to call Lethbridge their home.
“Even though it’s a city, it still has the small-town vibes to it that I love and it just always seems so friendly here,” said Tanner Young, a resident of Lethbridge.
“It seems like a great place to start a family.”