If you were asked to describe the Campbell River area, what would you say?
You’d probably brag about the beautiful natural setting, grumble a bit about the usual weather, complain about the safety situation downtown, warn them about housing prices and availability and outline the likely sectors to find work.
But how precise would your description be?
Like, could you tell them what the unemployment rate is? What would you say about the level of poverty in the community? Maybe you’d like to tell them about the seniors population and whether there is enough support in place for them.
Well, thanks to the Campbell River Community Foundation, an accurate snapshot of the community is now available with the launch of its 2022 Campbell River’s Vital Signs report.
“Vital signs are meant to be a balanced look at community strengths and challenges,” Maggie Hodge Kwan, who helped compile the Vital Signs data, told a breakfast launch of the 2022 Vital Signs Report at the Maritime Heritage Centre, Wednesday, Oct. 26. “Vital Signs reports are also a bit of a trend-spotting and temperature-taking document. It’s rare that we have other reports that pull all of these different indicators and issue areas together. So, it does give kind of a robust look at a community.”
Previous Campbell River Vital Signs reports have been released in 2016 and 2018. There was supposed to be a report in 2020 but the the COVID pandemic hit at that point and the uncertainty it caused derailed that year’s report. While the impact of the pandemic is still being felt, it was decided to resume the Vital Signs program.
The 2022 Vital Signs report provides information about 13 different issue areas that influence community wellbeing. The indicator data was collected from local governments and local non-profit organizations, Statistics Canada and the Institute for Sustainable Development.
Community perspectives were gathered from two methods of engagement. Targeted interviews were conducted with leaders from each of the 13 issue areas and a community survey gathered broad community engagement from people in the Greater Campbell River area. The community survey was conducted in June and July 2022 and involved 410 respondents but while women make up 50.6 per cent of the total population in Cambpell River, they made up nearly 70 per cent of survey respondents, the report says. So, for that reason, the survey responses should be condsidered supplementary to the data.
Michaela Arruda, Campbell River Community Foundation executive director, said the Vital Signs report has become a valuable tool for the community.
“We want business owners to use this as their environmental scanning tool to reference when they are embarking on strategic planning,” Arruda said. “We want other nonprofits to have a document that they can refer to when they are applying for grants, not just from us but from other sources too. We want parents to talk to their kids about what’s going on in the community using objective data. We want to inspire civic engagement. We want to demonstrate community leadership and we want to create new connections for our community. We want donors to feel empowered knowing their community investments are making a meaningful difference.”
The report is broken down into 13 issue areas: Arts & Culture, Belonging & Leadership, Children & Youth, Environment, Health, Housing, Getting Started (newcomers to the community), Income Gap, Learning, Leisure, Safety, Seniors and Work & Economy.
Some random points of interest:
Arts & Culture: A 2021 study found that arts and culture in the North Island and Coast – which includes Campbell River – have an economic impact of $72,000,000 in GDP annually.
Belonging & Leadership: In Campbell River, the median charitable donation was $360 an increase over the $260 median reported in the 2018 Vital Signs report.
Children & Youth: Despite increased demand, there are 1,084 childcare spaces, 99 fewer than reported in 2018.
Environment: The average household in Campbell River produces 530.7 kg of household waste, an increase of 45.3 kg per household from 2018.
Housing: The benchmark price of $625,900 for a single-family home in Campbell River in 2021 was an increase of 49.9 per cent from 2018 and more than double the price of $291,900 in 2016.
Safety: Campbell River RCMP responded to 1,377 check wellbeing calls, an increase of 29.3 per cent since 2020.
Seniors: Seniors make up 25.8 per cent of the greater Campbell River population, 10,490 residents aged 65 and older. That’s 1 in 4 residents are seniors in Campbell River, compared to the provinceal average of 1 in 5.
Work & Economy: Betweeen June 2021 and June 2022, NIEFS posted 6,354 jobs on its job board, nearly double the 3,394 jobs posted between June 2020 and June 2021.
For more on Campbell River’s 2022 Vital Signs report visit the Campbell River Community Foundation’s website.