An online survey through the Community Foundation of Whistler is the opportunity for residents to match their needs to what the community can deliver.
But it's also a chance for residents to be honest and forthright about how the community works as it is — and what needs to be tweaked.
This is the first Vital Signs survey for Whistler and encompasses 12 crucial areas of community life, some of which is specifically tailored to Whistler, said Foundation executive director Carol Coffey.
"We've added another category for Whistler, we decided it should be sports and recreation because it's such a part of our culture and lifestyle here," she said.
The 12 categories include: health and wellness; housing; the gap between rich and poor; work, getting started in the community; learning; getting around; environment; arts and culture; belonging and leadership; safety; and sports and recreation.
"You think you know the community," said Coffey, "but this is promoting an opportunity to dive even deeper. We're asking people for their voice on how the community is doing."
Coffey said tailoring the questions has been a lesson in what residents think they know, and what is actually happening.
"For example, there is a high rate of sexual assaults in the Sea to Sky corridor — and that's not being talked about very much," she said.
Coffey said focus groups were organized last fall to sift through statistics and discuss the survey categories.
What also came out of those groups were specific concerns for newcomers, particularly anyone who has English as a second language.
"Some of them are struggling with the language and the culture — and how does that impact their ability to find a job?" she said. "It also impacts how they make friends in the community."
Carole Stretch, the Foundation board member who's helped to spearhead this project, said this survey is not a one-off.
"It won't be every year, but it will probably be every two to three years and in between there are a number of things we can do, to see the opportunities, to build dialogue."
Stretch said the statistics are used to make a blueprint for the survey, and what is most intriguing is how all the categories connect in Whistler.
"If you talk about housing, for example, it's tough to find housing and that affects being able to get started because you have to be able to afford to live here. It affects your work life: you need more money to pay the rent or the mortgage," Stretch said. "Every single area is just so interconnected. You can't look at these things discretely."
The survey results will be tabulated throughout summer, with a final report expected in November. To take the survey, go to www.whistlerfoundation.com/successes/vital-signs.
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