Vital People: Take stock in your own community

This being an election year, have you been taking stock of the state of things in your municipality?

It’s common to reflect when there’s a potential changeover in local leadership and ask ourselves: Are things getting better or worse? Am I happy with the decisions being made? Are we focusing on the right things? A new report coming out next week might help answer some of your questions.

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Victoria’s Vital Signs is an annual community report card produced by the Victoria Foundation and supported by signature sponsor Coast Capital Savings. Unique to the region, it combines public-opinion survey results with statistics and relevant facts to provide a snapshot of regional livability and well-being.

The report examines 12 key issue areas, including arts and culture, the economy, housing, transportation and more. Taken together, it’s a good way to get a handle on where things stand and how people such as yourself are feeling about our city.

Take transportation, for example. The last few years have seen a lot of activity in this area, including the start of construction on the new McKenzie Avenue interchange, dedicated bus lanes, and a host of new bike lanes downtown and around the region, just to name a few. One might think things are improving, yet respondents to our survey rated transportation a C-plus, the same as last year.

Or what about housing? Again, it got the same grade as in 2017, coming in at a C-minus, the lowest grade of all issue areas. Certainly, data within the report speak to these concerns, including the median single-family house price jumping $55,000 in one year, and rents climbing an average of 7.7 per cent over the same time frame.

Vital Signs goes into a lot more detail about these and other issues, including a feature story on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and how local organizations are taking up the call to achieve these global targets over the next 12 years.

So, before you head to the polls next month, I encourage you to get your copy of the 2018 Victoria’s Vital Signs report, available at grocery stores, recreation centres and online at victoriafoundation.ca. Take the opportunity to learn about and reflect on our region, where we’ve been, what we’ve accomplished, and where we need to go to make Greater Victoria an even more vibrant, caring community for all.

Sandra Richardson is CEO of the Victoria Foundation.

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