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

Just Posted

New signage to show Victoria residents and tourists the way

Eleven new wayfinding signs use Lekwungen language to guide people from Ogden Point to the Johnson Street Bridge

Victoria painter splashes some colour on a dreary situation

Six-week long James Bay construction project gives Teresa Waclawik an impromptu canvas

Victoria beer leaguer turns heads as Joe Thornton doppleganger

Joe Thornton lookalike from Victoria makes it on

Tight WHL playoff series expected between Royals and Giants

Regular season record belies the closeness of the games: Royals coach Dan Price

Washington State Ferries resumes Sidney service on April 1

Community planning its annual welcome ceremony

New leader aims to grow Oak Bay Volunteer Services

About 200 volunteers offer about 500 residents with support services

UPDATE: Former B.C. city councillor sentenced nine months for sexual assault

Dave Murray, convicted this past fall, hired a private investigator to intrude on the victim’s life.

Online threat to U.S. high school traced to Canadian teen

A 14-year-old girl has been charged in connection with an online threat against a high school

Vaping device overheats, burns down home on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo Fire Rescue says units could cause fires in other homes and even aircraft

LinkedIn: Top 25 places to work in Canada

LinkedIn has compiled a list of the top companies to work for in 2018

Province warning rabbit owners after confirmed cases of deadly virus

Testing confirmed feral rabbits in Nanaimo and Delta had died from rabbit hemorrhagic disease

Painting of B.C. lake by Winston Churchill sells for $87,000

Churchill had painted the work in 1929 during visit to an area near Field

New lead in one of six B.C. searches that remain unresolved

New details in case of couple who’d been flying from Cranbook to Kamloops when plane disappeared

Island Good program makes it easier to shop locally

New labelling initiative to be tested in grocery stores

Most Read