Submitted by the Columbia Valley

Community Foundation

You probably have a sense of the pulse of your community but do you ever wonder just how were doing overall, here in the Columbia Valley?

Wonder no more. The Columbia Valley Community Foundation (CVCF) has just released its 2016 Vital Signs report the first one for this region published as part of a national program led by Community Foundations of Canada. The report brings together local data and knowledge on a wide range of interconnected topics from health and housing to education and the environment, providing a comprehensive, reader-friendly look at how the Columbia Valley is faring in key quality of life areas.

We have undertaken this report to raise awareness about important issues facing our community, and to connect caring people with causes that matter, says CVCF chair Scott Ferguson. Asking questions and taking a vital look at ourselves can only create an even healthier community.

The good news? The Columbia Valley is thriving in many ways. Our population is very well-educated, with an excellent high school completion rate and post-secondary education rate above the provincial and national averages. Our community is caring and highly engaged in volunteerism and philanthropy and most feel a strong sense of belonging here.

But theres still work to be done.

Work and earning top the list of concerns for Columbia Valley residents and for good reason. The Vital Signs report shows a troubling disparity between employment income and housing costs, and a wide gap in mean income for women and men. A large proportion of residents cite lack of employment options as their primary reason for moving away from the area almost double the provincial average.

Our demographics are interesting, says CVCF executive director Laurie Klassen. The communitys getting older, and that will affect everything. Weve lost families, and enrolment in local schools is down. Looking ahead, this baseline report will help us see where these trends are going, and ask how we can shift our focus to adapt to our communitys changing needs.

The 2016 Vital Signs report also reveals interesting data relating to our environment, health, transportation, safety, recreation, and more. It will be an invaluable resource for community organizations, local governments, funders, and individuals looking to have a positive impact on life in the Columbia Valley.

Whats the bottom line?

People love living here, and they love getting involved. Its really heartwarming to see that reflected in these numbers, says Ms. Klassen. Now we have to ask: How can we make sure all the folks who want to settle down here are able to do it?

The 2016 Columbia Valley Vital Signs report is available online at www.valleyfoundation.ca. Print copies will be available through the CVCF office.

The CVCF is one of 32 community foundations across Canada participating in this years Vital Signs program. More than 85 communities across Canada and around the world use Vital Signs to mobilize the power of community knowledge for greater local impact. For more information about Vital Signs or to access local reports, visit www.vitalsignscanada.ca.

Since 2001, the CVCF has supported 131 projects and granted over $540,000 to the community, matching donors with causes relevant to their interests.