Editorial: Most vital mark is ‘A’ for effort

This latest Vital Signs report shows that Nanaimo is alive and kicking, though we can strive to care for ourselves a little bit better.

This latest Vital Signs report shows that Nanaimo is alive and kicking, though we can strive to care for ourselves a little bit better.

The document, a project of the Nanaimo Foundation in partnership with the United Way of Central and Northern Vancouver Island and the City of Nanaimo, was released Tuesday.

Using its own survey data, Vital Signs evaluated the city in 10 areas, supplementing its findings with Statistics Canada information. The letter grades residents provided left Nanaimo off the honour roll, with a C-minus on our economy, a C-plus on our environment, and no grade better than a B-minus on arts and culture.

Six hundred residents responded to the survey, and though it’s a small sample size, it has some value. Any individual’s opinion is important, so several hundred voices together speak even more loudly.

There is some disconnect between people’s perceptions and StatsCan’s figures. For example, the crime rate continues to fall and yet citizens feel only somewhat safe. Jobs are up the region and family income isn’t far off the provincial average, and yet residents are underwhelmed with our economy. But then, statistics are only one measurement, and each of us, as individuals, can offer a much truer story: our own experience.

Nanaimo should accept the findings of the Vital Signs report. Whether we take issue with a particular C-minus or D-plus grade isn’t what’s important. There are reasons why residents feel that way and even if we scored straight-A marks across the board it would be our duty to strive for A-pluses.

The report guides charitable organizations – the Nanaimo Foundation and the United Way – as they strive to do good, meaningful work and direct their energies and resources. But it’s up to all of us to voice our concerns about our community, and identify our problems, and – vitally – try to solve them.