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‘Vital Signs’ looks at quality of life in NL communities

The 2017 Vital Signs report
The 2017 Vital Signs report

A sense of community is alive and rising in Newfoundland and Labrador communities, but crime rates are rising as well.

Crime rates in Newfoundland and Labrador are higher than the Canadian average for impaired driving, property crime and violent crime.

This is according to the 2017 “Vital Signs” report, released on Oct. 19 by the Community Foundation of NL and Memorial University’s Harris Centre.

The Harris Centre has two goals: to assist in the responsible development of the economy and society of Newfoundland and Labrador, and to stimulate informed discussion of important provincial issues.

“I know we’re all busy, and not everybody is in to statistics, but the ‘Vital Signs’ report is so accessible,” said Rob Greenwood, executive director of public engagement for Memorial University and of The Leslie Harris Centre. “The kinds of issues that arise in the report are ones that cut across all organizations in some way.”

One statistic that Greenwood said surprised him was that 36 per cent of those who didn’t vote in the 2015 federal election said it was because they were not interested in politics.

“That makes me pull my hair out,” said Greenwood. “Whether you like politics or not, what do you think about roads? What do you think about health care? What do you think about schools for your kids?

“I think highlighting these types of things in ‘Vital Signs’ will help people appreciate the critical importance of getting up on the issues, and using the information in your families, in your businesses and in your community,” said Greenwood.

While the public isn’t too concerned about crime, they are very concerned about the cost of living in NL.

Only half of NL residents feel secure in their current employment, and over half are concerned about the cost of living.

The report shows that residents of NL who feel a strong sense of community, which is 47 per cent, also show strong mental health.

The report shows that Newfoundlanders are falling slightly behind the Canadian average when it comes to physical activity.

“It looks like there’s still some work to do for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians of all ages, to match activity levels in all other provinces,” said Jason Browne, CEO of the YMCA of NL.

Browne says exercise and activity leads to a long and healthy life, and that’s why the YMCA doesn’t turn anybody away for inability to pay membership fees.

Printed copies of “Vital Signs” 2017 was distributed in the Oct. 21 editions of The Telegram and The Western Star, and in the Newfoundland and Labrador Community Newspapers during the week of Oct. 23 to 27.

To read it online, click here.

* This story has been updated.

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