The Phoenix Foundation is asking all Boundary residents, from Bridesville to Beaverdell to Christina Lake, to express their impressions on living and working in the region. The organization’s Vital Signs survey is live online now and aims to glean key understandings of the quality of life in the Boundary.
“[The survey] informs people on what may be the required focus [for the Phoenix Foundation] and helps guide our grant committee,” Gary Smith, the president of the organization, explained.
Last year, the Phoenix Foundation was able to give out approximately $57,000 in grant monies to local charities and non-profits. But beyond funding allocations, Smith explained, the results from the Vital Signs survey are published and can form the basis of decision making in government.
“If people are concerned about having an influence on the direction of their community,” Smith said, “[filling out the 59-question survey] is a pretty easy way to be part of the voice.
“It’s easy and it’s so impactful,” Smith added.
Historically, the Phoenix Foundation has conducted its surveys in five-year intervals: first in 2009, then in 2014 and now in 2019. With such gaps in data collection, Smith said that it can be hard to keep a finger on the pulse of where the priorities are for the various communities that the organization serves.
In the 2014 report, for example, the concern for housing in the Boundary was deemed to be “average,” with the median payment for a rental unit in the region hovering at $709 per month. Now, Smith suspects, the 2019 survey may reveal greater emphasis on affordable and accessible housing.
The 2014 survey also revealed that Boundary residents rated transportation options “poor,” noting few public transit options. Despite the fact that the region is spread out, however, 14 per cent of local commuters said they got themselves to work by foot or by bike, as opposed to the provincial average of nine per cent.
Strikingly, the gap between rich and poor in the Boundary was also highlighted as an issue in 2014. In the Boundary, 23 per cent of seniors were reportedly living in “low-income” households (based on a federal government measure). Comparatively, the B.C. average for the same figure sat at 14 per cent.
Visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/VitalSigns2019BoundaryRegion to complete the 2019 Vital Signs survey.