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

New Work BC office scheduled to open April 1

Kopar Administration, the new Work BC contractor, still looking to fill positions in Smithers office

Gryphons girls graduate as coach moves on

Bulkley Valley SD54 van der Mark on his time as coach and education administrator.

Bulkley Valley members of The North Matter rally in Houston

Pro-pipeline and resource development group driving convoy Saturday, eyes expansion across the North

Open letter from Coast Mountains School District 82 Board of Education

Board commitment to ongoing collaboration to close outcome gaps with First Nations students.

Northwest mobile unit to help those at heart of mental health, addiction crisis

Province, Northern Health unveils new unit in Terrace to bridge gaps in services

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

Wildlife activists slam B.C. business, clubs for ‘wolf-whacking’ contests

Chilcotin Guns, Creston Valley Rod and Gun Club and West Kootenay Outdoorsmen Club under fire

Most Read