COLUMN: Recent government announcements address Vital Signs issues

The 2018 Vital Signs report has been out for just over a month now, and some key points are already being addressed.

With the recent government announcements regarding housing on Hornby Island, and the step towards universal daycare, a couple of concerns the report touched upon can, at least, have asterisks next to them.

The “Gap Between Rich & Poor” section of the 2018 Vital Signs report showed Hornby Island as having the highest poverty rate in the Comox Valley, at 28.3 per cent.

Poverty was also at the front of the Vital Sign survey participants’ minds. The lack of support for people living in poverty was one of the most contentious topics in the survey portion of the Vital Signs report.

Last week, the government announced the Hornby Island Housing Society will receive $2.6 million to build 26 townhouses and duplexes for families, seniors and workers.

The project, which will be called Beulah Creek Village, is an 18.5-acre property between the school and the Co-op.

“That announcement, both in regards to the poverty rate by community, and when you look further into the [Vital Signs] document, talking about child poverty on Hornby Island, this is very timely,” said Comox Valley Community Foundation executive director Jody Macdonald.

In the same Vital Signs chapter, the child poverty rate in the Comox Valley was particularly alarming, specifically for children in lone-parent families, where the rate is 55 per cent.

Universal ($10 a day) daycare, of which the government recently rolled out the first phase, will go a long way toward alleviating that crisis. In respect to daycare costs, paying $10 a day could give families as much as $700 extra per child per month.

While the roll-out will happen in phases, the Comox Valley will benefit, to a degree, immediately, as Tigger Too Early Learning Centre, a Comox Valley Children’s Day Care Society (CVCDCS) facility, is one of the 53 prototype centres that has been selected for the 18-month pilot project.

The top two priorities listed in the “Gap” section of the 2018 Vital Signs report were

1) more affordable housing

2) Supports to transition from poverty to workforce.

The two government announcements address both issues to some degree.

And when it comes to affordable housing, one would be hard-pressed to find any social issue of greater concern to Comox Valley residents.

In the 2018 Vital Signs report, survey respondents expressed the affordable housing issue as the most contentious of all social issues in the Comox Valley. It also showed a massive shift in the survey scale, from the 2016 report.

Questions in the survey were gridded on a scale from -10 (strongly disagree) to +10 (strongly agree.)

The statement “Housing is affordable in the Comox Valley” received the lowest, or most negative, reaction in the entire report, at -6.3. In the 2016 report, the same statement scored a -2.6 rating.

“I find it interesting when the perceptual data matches the hard data,” said Macdonald. “That’s not always the case, but when it happens, it is a really powerful statement.”

What does all this mean, in regards to the Vital Signs report?

Certainly these two government announcements were in the works long before the 2018 Vital Signs report was compiled, but it shows that the government is in tune with the wants and needs of the people of the Comox Valley.

And it validates the information compiled in the report.

“I think our local community organizations can learn a lot from the process of looking at data, and making decisions based on that data, to improve our community health,” said Macdonald. “From the micro scale to the macro scale, like these $2.6 million projects, there’s a lot we can do to look at evidence and make decisions for the betterment of the community. That is the ultimate goal, of what we are trying to accomplish… just to get that dialogue going.”

The 2018 Vital Signs report can be found at the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce office, the Visitor Information, Lewis Centre in Courtenay, the Comox Community Centre, all libraries in the Comox Valley, as well as online at cvcfoundation.org

Terry Farrell is the editor of the Comox Valley Record

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Coast Range Cannabis store has been approved for the Crown Isle Shopping Centre in Courtenay. Photo submitted
Courtenay council approves seventh cannabis retailer

Coast Range Cannabis to open second store in the Comox Valley

A map of the Village Forest Lands near Cumberland. Image, Village of Cumberland
Cumberland adopts forest management direction statement

Less detailed than full plan, documents sets out decision-making for village-owned land

Gp Vanier in Courtenay. Circa 2018. Photo courtesy Comox Valley Schools
Another COVID exposure alert for Vanier Secondary in Courtenay

Island Health has sent another exposure alert to parents of students attending… Continue reading

“Of Bears at Fridges, drinking Planes and Cinderella’s Shoe” is Jordis Trumby’s first children’s book. Photo supplied.
Courtenay author writes, illustrates first children’s book

When is a collaboration not a collaboration? At first glance, Courtenay author… Continue reading

The 5th Street Bridge requires structural improvements, new coating to repair and prevent corrosion, and deck repairs. File photo
City of Courtenay awards contract for 5th Street Bridge project

The City of Courtenay has awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of… Continue reading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Intiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

This was the scene outside North Saanich’s Parkland Secondary School after an attempted but unsuccessful break-and-enter into the school torched an ATM inside of it. Sidney/North Saanich RCMP did not make any arrests and currently lack suspects as the investigation continues. Members of the public who may have witnessed something or possess other information can contact police at (250) 656-3931 or to Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. (Submitted)
Money to burn: burglars torch North Saanich high school ATM

Police dogs searched the exterior and interior of the school after early morning break-and-enter

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforecment, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Most Read