The cost of living far ahead of other concerns weighing on locals’ minds

Vitals Signs shines light on Greater Victoria’s successes and struggles

Cost of living far ahead of other concerns weighing on locals’ minds

The cost of living has clearly emerged as the No. 1 concern in the minds of people living and working in the Capital Region.

The Victoria Foundation revealed this and many other informational nuggets at today’s launch of this year’s Vital Signs report at the Hotel Grand Pacific.

In the “community report card,” 52.4 per cent of respondents identified cost of living as Victoria’s chief issue, up from 47 per cent last year, Victoria Foundation executive officer Sandra Richardson said in an interview, noting one-quarter said they were working more than one job.

The ninth edition of report compiles research and survey responses that offer information about issues affecting the region, with the goal of providing insight, prompting debate and inspiring philanthropy.

This year’s Victoria Capital Region Community Wellbeing Survey, based on the conceptual framework of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing from the University of Waterloo, measures the subjective wellbeing of Greater Victorians in eight quality of life categories: community vitality, democratic engagement, education, environment, healthy populations, leisure and culture, living standards and time use.

Recognizing that traditional markers like GDP don’t paint the whole picture of community well-being, the index bridges the gap by using primary research to also reflect areas such as social and environmental well-being, Richardson said.

“I think it gives the report a whole lot of extra fibre,” Richardson said. “It really mirrors some of the things people have been telling us for years. “I think you’re going to find this is our best reports yet.”

Richardson was pleased with the depth of feedback from the 16,000 distributed surveys, which enjoyed a return rate of about 14 per cent.

In addition to cost of living, additional issues of concern included related issues of housing (21.1 per cent), mental illness (20.3 per cent), homelessness (16.5 per cent), employment (15.5 per cent), and health care (14.7 per cent). Additional issues rounding out the top 12 included municipal amalgamation, addictions, transportation, poverty, sewage treatment and community planning/development.

Identifying the positive aspects of life in the region as well as concerns, the natural environment topped the list of the best things about living in the Greater Victoria at 47 per cent, followed by climate (38.6 per cent) air quality (23.2 per cent), friends and family (21.1 per cent), a feeling of safety (19 per cent) and walkability (18.5 per cent).

Capitalizing on these and other positive aspects of living in the region, 88 per cent of respondents identified themselves as being happy, 87 per cent feel supported by loving family, companions and/or friends, 82 per cent feel somewhat or very connected to the community and 76 per cent rated their general sense of mental well-being as high – up significantly from 69 per cent last year, Richardson noted.

As a significant tool to the community, Vital Signs is open access information, meaning other community groups can use the data to dig deeper, or take up an issue they feel strongly about, Richardson said.

“Groups are looking at us as one of the places that knows the community well and can make these connections.”

Ultimately, the report helps expose areas of interest and concern in the community, including gaps where funds and programs are needed.

“I think we’re starting to really see the impact of how the report is being used,” Richardson said. In 2012, the Vital Signs cover questioned “Do our kids have a healthy future?” looking at issues such as activity, obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

From that, the Victoria Foundation partnered with the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence to pilot the “ABCs of Physical Literacy for 175 children at the Cridge Centre and today, the initiative counts 3,300 participants throughout the region.

The impact of these and other initiatives, plus the awareness raised by these discussions, is seen in this year’s numbers: Vitals Signs reports that 91 per cent of youth ages 12 to 19 reported spending their leisure time being physically active or moderately active, up from 77 per cent in 2012.

And from last year’s Vital Signs Food Security issue, a new food funding network emerged in which 43 partnerships granted $1.6 million to support 93 local food security initiatives, Richardson says.

Also released is Youth Vital Signs, which gives youth a voice about the issues important to them. At the same time, one of the interesting results from both reports is how in sync both youth and older adults are about the issues of the day.

“They really see things from a very similar point of view,” Richardson said.

To Learn More:

Learn more about Vital Signs locally at www.victoriafoundation.ca or nation-wide at vitalsignscanada.ca

 

Put the report to good use

How should Victorians use this year’s Vital Signs report?

First, use it to start conversations – talk about what’s behind the data and what people are experiencing in our community, says Victoria Foundation Executive Officer Sandra Richardson.

If moved by what you read, use the report as a catalyst for action, sharing the information – and your reaction to it – with friends, colleagues, neighbours or elected officials.

Richardson also encourages people to use the Victoria Foundation’s resources to get to know the issues and organizations in their community. Request a guest speaker for your group or organization, learn about the many organizations in our community working to improve it, and what you can do to help, Richardson says.

 

Youth Vital Signs

What’s great about living in Greater Victoria? Here’s what local youth had to say:

1. Natural Environment –34.8 per cent

2. Parks – 31.1 per cent

3. Festivals and Events – 28 per cent

4. Climate – 25.6 per cent

5. Air Quality – 25.6 per cent

6. Walkability – 22.6 per cent

 

Where do youth think Victoria needs work?

1. Cost of Living – 59.8 per cent

2. Employment – 29.3 per cent

3. Mental Illness – 28 per cent

4. Education – 26.8 per cent

5. Homelessness – 22 per cent

6. Climate chage – 18.9 per cent

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Western Speedway racing legend ‘The Flying Plumber’ turns 98

Dave Cooper recalls car crashes, his first win, and more

Second puppy killed by poisonous mushrooms in Victoria

Springer spaniel puppy died after consuming mushrooms in Fairfield neighbourhood

Driver charged in Central Saanich pedestrian’s death appears in court

Victim Kim Ward, 51, died on scene at the August 2018 crash

Langford homeowner helps West Shore RCMP catch car thief

The homeowner grabbed the suspect until the police arrived moments later

Nuisance tree will remain on perimeter of Fireman’s Park

Council re-affirm pledge to protecting healthy tree canopy

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

Two RCMP vehicles vandalized in Duncan over long weekend

Local Mounties asking for help in finding culprits

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

Most Read