By Jan Gisborne
We kicked off the project this summer by conducting a community survey, and that quickly became one of the highlights of our effort. With a total of 685 surveys completed, from a total population of 20,000, we have high confidence the survey ratings truly reflect our community.
In addition to the Vital Signs research areas, we also added a twist: the survey had room for suggestions and feedback on 14 issues, to give us new insights about the community we live in. We received an outpouring of constructive comments in all of the report areas – quality of life, strengthening the local economy, the environment, safety and security, and so on. The enthusiasm, commitment and quality of the responses was simply amazing.
We hope and expect that community groups and elected officials will use the survey and the suggestions to develop innovative ideas to help build a stronger community. We did not expect the immediate reaction we got from local businesses. They have told us that they find the information incredibly useful to assist them in strategic planning for future business decisions and, of course, to guide their charitable giving.
This Vital Signs report has special importance for us, because it puts the spotlight on the Powell River area. Since we are a small community, research reports often lump our data together with neighbouring areas. But Powell River is a unique community geographically, and the residents need to evaluate its specific challenges. People read the Vital Signs and say, “Here is a report that I can relate to – that speaks about what is really happening in Powell River.”
And because we are a small community, we had to line up backing well in advance to be able to proceed. The support of local governments and businesses made this report not only possible but also a great success.
It’s exciting that our Vital Signs report is helping us accomplish our mission of giving leadership to the nonprofit and charitable community.
Jan Gisborne is a member of the Board of Directors of Powell River Community Foundation