Towards a better measurement of our community progress

Mayor Taylor Bachrach and Northern Health's Cormac Hikisch on their collaborative initiative ahead of Dr. Trevor Hancock's Wednesday speech.

We all want our community to move forward. But what does moving forward mean?

That is the question at the heart of a collaborative initiative the Town of Smithers, Northern Health and the Bulkley Valley Social Planning Society are undertaking. It’s called “Community Vitality: How Do We Measure Progress?”

Historically, communities have based their understanding of success on relatively few factors. Population is one measure to which many pay close attention. The amount of new construction and changes in tax base are also closely monitored.

We all know, however, that these simple measures don’t tell the whole story; there are a host of other aspects that most people agree make Smithers a wonderful place to live: employment, social support, access to nature, inclusiveness, recreation opportunities, safety, clean air, volunteerism. What if we tracked these kinds of factors, too?

The Community Vitality project seeks to do just that. With funding from Northern Health’s Partnering for Healthier Communities program, we are working to identify a comprehensive set of indicators that can help us measure our community’s vitality over time. The goal is for the indicators to be measurable, objective, and broadly representative of our shared values. Much of this data is already collected by various agencies, but has never been put together in one place.

Why take this on? As a famous management consultant once said, “What gets measured gets managed.” Measuring our community’s vitality in a more comprehensive way will not only give us a common language for discussing progress, but also inspire us to undertake practical actions and projects to improve our community.

Is the number of small businesses declining? We might need to invest more in economic development and business support. Is drinking water quality getting worse? Perhaps it’s time for new measures to protect our aquifer.

To kick off the project, we are pleased to host a presentation by Dr. Trevor Hancock from the University of Victoria. A physician and world-renowned expert on healthy communities, Dr. Hancock is known to be a dynamic speaker. He will be presenting on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Della Herman Theatre (admission is free). The event will include an opportunity for residents to contribute their ideas.

Then, on Oct. 8, we are holding a day-long workshop with community leaders from a range of organizations to identify potential Community Vitality indicators that will form the basis of an annual report card.

Our community is always changing. Through this Community Vitality project, we hope to help ensure future changes take us in the direction we all want to go: towards a community that is ever healthier, happier and more vibrant.

 

Taylor Bachrach is the Mayor of Smithers.

Cormac Hikisch is the Bulkley Valley’s Health Services Administrator with Northern Health.

Just Posted

Construction on Upper Skeena Arena going smoothly after a tough winter

Pilot project to train indigenous young people for recreation leadership position underway

Firefighters work 10 hours on Telkwa house fire

Tough conditions kept Smithers and Telkwa firefighters busy at fire with no injuries.

Victim wants women to come forward

Reporting sex assaults helps police track down criminals.

SSS students celebrate Pride

Smithers Secondary School holds its second annual Pride Day celebration.

Bulkley River still dangerous

The Bulkley River has been downgraded to high streamflow advisory, and people are asked to stay off.

Trans Mountain pipeline: How we got here

A look at the Kinder Morgan expansion, decades in the making

Suspected scammer attempts to use Black Press newspaper to dupe woman

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre offers tips after Langley resident received suspicious call

Vote points to abortion being legalized in Ireland

Voters asked whether to keep or repeal Eighth Amendment to Roman Catholic Ireland’s Constitution

COLUMN: Women’s breasts really aren’t that big a deal

A follow on some Princeton, B.C., students gained considerable exposure when they dropped their bras

Canadian soccer officials talk up World Cup bid at Champions League final

Current bid calls for 2026 World Cup games to be staged in the U.S., Canada and Mexico

B.C.’s devastating 2017 wildfire season revisited in new book

British Columbia Burning written by CBC journalist Bethany Lindsay

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Unions reject CP Rail contract offers

Both meeting Friday to determine next steps; 72 hours notice required before strike action.

Most Read