Whistler’s Vital Signs: Connect + Engage Report to be released October 1st
For Immediate Release
Whistler, September 18, 2018
The Community Foundation of Whistler’s Vital Signs initiative uses local knowledge to measure the vitality of our community, create conversations and encourage collective action.
We believe that the vitality and resiliency of our community is linked to the strength of our social connections and support in the community. People who feel a sense of belonging and who are connected to their community are physically and mentally healthier.
The Vital Signs Connect + Engage report is a full update of our 2016 Vital Signs report.
It also continues to explore how community members connect at a personal, neighbourhood and community level.
Highlights from the Connect + Engage Report:
While much of Whistler’s population is doing well, feels well-connected and is managing financially, there is a
proportion of community members experiencing challenges and struggles while living in Whistler.
The good news is that a majority of respondents say they find it easy to make friends, that they have people to depend on in times of need, know at least one neighbour well enough to ask for help, and have a high sense of belonging to Whistler.
On the other hand, there are significant segments of the population who are reporting weakened connection to the community:
- 34% of us find it somewhat or very difficult to make friends
- 25% are just getting by financially (plus 12% finding it difficult or very difficult financially)
- 71% have no relatives that live nearby
- 27% of us spend more time alone than we would like
- 19% of us describe our sense of belonging as weak or very weak
- 63% of us have a close friend or family member that has moved due to affordability reasons
In general, it is our younger adult community members, those newer to town, and those earning lower incomes who tend to have more challenges on multiple levels than those who are older, have lived here longer and are more established. It is these younger, newer segments of the population who are more likely to have difficulty making friends, managing financially, and finding the time to forge the social connections to build a strong sense of belonging.
- 32% of the population in Whistler are now immigrants and temporary foreign residents. There has been an 252% increase in new permanent residents landing in Whistler over the past 5 years.
- The living wage in Whistler has increased 10.4% from 2015 to 2017 and 39% of permanent residents have incomes below living costs.
- Whistler’s housing situation has worsened with the average amount spent on rent and utilities in 2016 being 44% higher in Whistler compared to the BC average.
- Staffing shortages have continued with 30% of employers unable to meet staffing needs in 2016/2017.
- More of us are walking or biking to work compared to the rest of the province and compared to 2011.
- For youth, there is concern about higher than average levels of binge drinking as well a lack of perceived risk associated with using marijuana.
- Greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase.
The Vital Signs report will be available online at whistlerfoundation.com. Copies are available for pick up at Whistler Public Library. The Community Foundation of Whistler will be circulating copies in the community to individuals and groups.
We are hosting Vital Conversations on Tuesday October 23rd and Tuesday October 30th at the Whistler Public Library. Further dates for Vital Conversations in November will be announced shortly.
Our vision is a thriving community!
The Community Foundation of Whistler is the only local opportunity for donors to create a personal legacy that will give back to the community in their name year after year, forever. Donations to an endowment fund are permanently invested and professionally managed. The income generated supports local charities in the form of annual grants. The Foundation currently manages 30 endowment funds covering a broad range of community life.
For more information, contact:
Carol Coffey, Executive Director