By Tara Ramsey
“It is easy to sit up and take notice, what is difficult is getting up and taking action” – Honore de Balzac
Vital Signs is an opportunity to take stock of key community issues. This snapshot allows us to pause and evaluate how we are doing. Communities receive information that helps determine successes and gaps in services. This focuses energy on what will hopefully result in action. Recently, I took action by joining a “food bank flash mob” which resulted in donations to those in need. I hope as Vital Signs is digested more action will transpire.
Squamish’s Vital Signs reveals we are doing really well in Health and Wellness. Our obesity rate is 6.2%, which is 65.7% below the national average. Not surprising since we are known for being the “Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada.” On the downside, our Violent Crime Rates are shocking, as we were 66.2% above the national average.
Squamish is a community in transition. Although I believe “the only constant is change” (Heraclitus), Squamish has been adapting to significant changes. It has changed from being resource-based, where now nearly one-third of occupations are in sales and service. In nine years:
- 2003 Interfor sawmill curtailed operations / closed (2004) (*-185 jobs)
- 2004 BC Rail privatization / CN Rail purchase (*-300 jobs)
- 2006 Woodfibre pulp mill closed (*-323 jobs)
- Real estate market high and low
- 2008 beginning of economic downturn
- Highway improvement / 2010 Olympics – including Pre and Post – influx of people / temporary employment
Squamish Community Foundation indicated that with financial support they would write a follow-up report. In light of all of these changes, combined with 2011 census results, I believe this would be crucial to assess our improvements.
Tara Ramsey is a Vital Signs committee member with Squamish Community Foundation