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Having just attended the annual conference of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in Edmonton, Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman will now travel to the Maritimes where she will address an Energy East Conference in New Brunswick.

“Fort St. John is very much on the minds of people that are interested in municipalities and how things are going,” Ackerman said in an interview.

“How we’ve approached our industry and how we’ve worked with our industry is significantly different than other regions, because local governments are not decision makers. So, how do you create that opportunity to work with the industry, and create, if you need, community measures agreements.”

Her address this week follows word last week that among the major centres in this region, only Fort St. John moved forward this year in the annual MoneySense magazine rankings of the best places to live in Canada.

While Fort St. John jumped from 96th to 47th place among the 209 cities surveyed across the country, Grande Prairie dropped from 51st to 107th, Dawson Creek from 73 to 113, and Prince George from 148 to 163.

“What a lot of people don’t recognize in Fort St. John is that 10 years ago over 50 per cent of our roads were gravel with open ditches,” said Ackerman.

“Through the opportunities we have had primarily with the Fair Share agreement, and the policies council has had in place and has stayed focused on, we threw about $100 million into roads and related infrastructure.

“Do we have more to do, yes we do. But we’ve come along way in 10 years,” she said.

The survey areas where Fort St. John scored well included low unemployment, high incomes, healthy population growth, and low taxes.

As a result, it was ranked 21st among the smallest cities in the country, and second only to Comox in B.C., with a population under 30,000.

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