Greater Victoria’s Vital Signs report filled with good information

Victoria Foundation counts on residents to offer input for annual community checkup

The letter grade hasn’t changed on the overall health and well-being of the Greater Victoria community.

But respondents to the Victoria Foundation’s 2017 Vital Signs survey, whose collective answers to questions in 12 key issue areas kept the region’s quality of life rating at B-plus, pushed some things higher on the list of most important issues facing local citizens.

At the Vital Signs release breakfast Tuesday at the Hotel Grand Pacific, movers and shakers representing business, non-profits and government were given a glimpse of residents’ perceptions of what’s good in the region and what needs improving.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps was among a half dozen or so local politicians on hand. She wasn’t surprised to see housing (listed by 47.6 per cent of respondents) and cost of living (46.5 per cent) sitting at number 1 and 2 on the Most Important Issues list, followed in order by mental illness (27.2), addictions (23.4) and transportation (22.8).

“The thing that struck me the most is the number of people that feel like they don’t have a sense of belonging,” she said.

Indicators of such from the report were that less than 40 per cent of youth respondents feel connected to their community, 64 per cent felt the region is welcoming to new Canadians and just 63 per cent felt they know their neighbours well enough to ask for help.

“I think that is something that not only as a city, but as a community we need to tackle,” Helps said. “That’s something that everybody can take responsibility for. Belonging is sometimes a sense of how you feel on your street, how well you know your neighbours. It’s a simple knock on the neighbour’s door to say, ‘hey we’ve never met, I live next door, come over for tea.’ It’s that simple, and for whatever reason, maybe social media, online life, we don’t just do that we’re not outside.”

A presentation by Berkeley, Calif.-based planner Christopher Beynon entitled The Inclusive City illustrated how growth and economic prosperity in urban areas can leave many residents on the outside looking in, financially and culturally.

While he witnessed more vibrancy and construction happening in Victoria since his last visit three years ago, he said that measure of success can’t be enough. “Just like the Victoria Foundation is doing, you need to be taking care of those who can’t take care of themselves. You need to be thinking of empowering people with greater education, greater levels of income, more connectedness to the community and to the world.”

While acknowledging the importance of housing and cost of living as areas of concern, foundation CEO Sandra Richardson was interested to see arts and culture move from 10th to fourth on the Best Things About Greater Victoria list, and recreational opportunities added to that list.

“We rely on the community to tell us what they perceive and what they think we should work on, then we get busy to find the actual data that either supports their thoughts or dismisses perceptions,” she said.

In general, she said the Vital Signs report is used by people in various areas of local influence, from non-profits to local politicians, as well by people from elsewhere looking to move or invest here.

Comments from local community leaders in the back of the magazine about how they use the report were perhaps the most telling she added.

“That, to me, is what is going to be one of the biggest change agents is if people really look at that and say, ‘huh, maybe there’s something we can do in this area,’” she said. “To me reading those comments really made me feel good about what we’re doing.”

Find a copy of the report online at victoriafoundation.bc.ca/vital-signs.

editor@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Give fish in Millstream Creek a step up

Groups hope to build fish ladder on Atkins Road culvert

Amazing Race Canada kicks off at Hatley Castle

Popular reality TV show will premiere later this year

UPDATE: Missing Sooke man found safe

The man who was thought to be missing in Sooke has been… Continue reading

Celebrate Mother’s Day at the HSBC Women’s Rugby Series

A one-day promo code will be offered for ticket purchase

New Student Ranger Program to start this summer

Goldstream Provincial Park is one of the sites the program will take place

UPDATED: 9 killed, 16 injured after van hits pedestrians in Toronto

Toronto police say nine people have died and 16 are injured

Judith Guichon steps down as Lieutenant Governor of B.C.

Election decision didn’t make her best moments from the past six years

Vancouver to rake in $30 million in empty homes tax in first year

The tax is the first of its kind in Canada, and was intended to address the city’s near-zero vacancy rate

B.C.’s snowpack continues to increase, melting delayed

River Forecast Centre official says sudden melting further into the season could cause flooding

Another B.C. First Nation voices support for Kinder Morgan pipeline

Simpcw First Nation claims people living on one-third of pipeline route support the project

Scooter crash leaves Island man with critical injuries

RCMP said a truck was making a left-hand turn when it collided with the scooter travelling through the intersection

Prankster broadcasts fake nuclear threat in Winnipeg

The audio recording on Sunday warned of a nuclear attack against Canada and the United States

ICBC reform aims to slow rising car insurance costs

‘Pain and suffering’ payouts to be capped, major injury limit to double

Saskatchewan introduces law to allow control of oil, gas exports

The Prairie province has already said it is supporting Alberta in a dispute with B.C. over the Trans Mountain pipeline

Most Read