NANAIMO – The annual Vital Signs report card, grading community services in Nanaimo, is being shelved this year.
The Nanaimo Foundation says there will be no Vital Signs report this year. Over the last two years, the Vital Signs report looked into social, economic and quality of life issues in the Nanaimo region and assigned letter grades to them.
“We see it as a step forward, just in a different direction,” said the Foundation's development officer Laurie Bienert. “After releasing two consecutive reports in 2014 and '15, we decided that this year we would direct our resources to addressing some of the issues raised in those two reports.”
The resources Bienert is referring to include time and money. Island Savings provides funding to have the Vital Signs report published. The money they saved this year went towards three grants for local organizations.
Issues that need addressing identified in the previous two reports include poverty, affordable housing and employment opportunities.
The City of Nanaimo uses the information in the report to gauge community needs, according to social planner John Horn. Horn says they know a lot of the information identified already through sources like the federal census. He suggests it's more useful to issue another Vital Signs report when new data comes to light. Horn says despite similar issues being identified there is a lot of work that is going on behind the scenes to address the concerns raised by the public.
“In between the issuances of these reports our job is to get below that surface picture that is presented in that report, dig down and then come up with a response. A strategic and coherent response to that thing. And in between the issuance of the report, there's a ton of stuff that we do in that sense,” said Horn.
He adds a lot of the areas identified have groups working on the concern. It's just that they don't have the high profile or publication to show what they're doing.
As a number of areas identified as needing attention are similar in the previous two reports, at this point, Bienert says she isn't sure if another study is on the horizon.