By David F. Rooney
Just how healthy is our community? Most people probably think Revelstoke doing just fine, thank you very much, but is that actually true?
In the absence of statistical information about what are called “social determinants” — the social and economic conditions that influence communities as a whole — any answer is bound to be off base.
At a meeting at the Community Centre on Tuesday representatives from various agencies, the School District, Victim Services, City Council and other organizations began to grapple with this question as it could impact a number of initiatives that are looming on the horizon: fine-tuning the City’s Official Community Plan and a planned Public Participation Strategy the City hopes to begin work on soon.
Here are some of the social determinants that need to be quantified in Revelstoke: poverty, economic inequality, education and care in early life, social exclusion, employment and job security, housing and food security.
Guided by Eric Kowalski, Interior Health’s manager of injury prevention, and Theresa Hermary, a population health facilititate with IH, participants discussed the situation here for almost four hours before ending for the day. Social Development Coordinator Jill Zacharias said she would categorize the information provided and discussed by the 13 participants then send it out to them for comment.
City Planner John Guenther told the group that Revelstoke has “a pretty engaged public” and, given its size, there are a lot of things going on here.
He said he’d like to see some effort made to gather and present information on the actual health of the community, perhaps along the lines of the Vital Signs community health profiles produced by community foundations (you can find out more about Vital Signs at www.vitalsignscanada.ca).