Vital Signs survey

What do you think of the spread between rich and poor in Red Deer, the use of recycling and even access to medical care? The information is all of vital importance to the Red Deer and District Community Foundation.

What do you think of the spread between rich and poor in Red Deer, the use of recycling and even access to medical care? The information is all of vital importance to the Red Deer and District Community Foundation.

The foundation has launched its third annual Vital Signs survey that will compile Red Deer resident’s opinions on what is important to them in the community and what issues need to be addressed. The survey is available until Aug. 31 at and takes from 30 to 45 minutes to complete.

Paul Harris, board chair of the Red Deer and District Community Foundation, said the survey is a report card from the community to the community.

“It enables the civic government and agencies to recognize the voice of the community and some things that need to be improved on and some things that need to be enhanced, the strengths and the weaknesses,” Harris said.

Statistics have been compiled using Statistics Canada data, municipal and national census information, data from the provincial government and local organizations. The questions ask what people think about the information they are reading, with room to comment. The survey wants to know people’s feelings on crime rates, post-secondary education and high school completion rates, housing starts and the rental vacancy rate.

One question on the difference between salaries of the rich and poor points to the poorest 10 per cent of Red Deer families having incomes of less than $27,600, with the richest 10 per cent making incomes of more than $166,900 in 2006, the newest statistics available.

The report asks resident’s opinions about composting, household recycling rates and city transit use.

Others look at access to medical care, asking how people feel about 17.8 per cent of the population over 12 years of age being without a regular family doctor in the local health region — compared with Canada as a whole at 15.6 per cent — in 2008.

It also asks for residents to say what cultural events they have attended, including things like the public market, Westerner Days, Centrefest and Red Deer Rebels hockey games.

“The questions are designed to help us think but engage dialogue both in a positive way, looking at our strengths, but also looking at the issues we may have in the community,” Harris said.

In the past, a couple of hundred surveys have been filled out, but Harris hopes at least 500 people will participate this year.

Once the surveys are completed, the information will be compiled into a final report, set to be released to the community on Oct. 6.

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