Report card on South Okanagan communities released

The South Okanagan looks pretty good in the latest Vital Signs report from the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan.

Aaron McRann

Aaron McRann

The South Okanagan looks pretty good in the latest Vital Signs report, with lots of  “A” and “B” grades in categories ranging from arts and culture to safety and the environment.

But when it comes to housing, employment or the income gap between poor and wealthy community members, the region gets a solid “D+.”

This is the third vital signs report produced by the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan gauging how citizens feel about their community, juxtaposed with statistics.

Aaron McRann, the CFSO’s executive director, said the reach of the report gets better with each year.

“There are over 1,500 responses. That’s double what we have had in the past, so that is a significant difference,” said McRann. More community feedback means the report is more helpful in emphasizing areas of need.

“We continue to have issues in the area of housing and the employment environment in our region, which is probably not a surprise,” said McRann. The grades given in the report are intended to give a sense of public opinion on a specific issue.

That public opinion is combined with statistical research to give a better analysis, like in housing, where both  sides suggest housing is a difficult challenge, with low vacancy rates, high cost of home ownership and a low number of affordable housing units in each community.

There is also a critical shortage of emergency shelter options in the region for youth under 18 years of age.

Along with the stats, Vital Signs offers some insight into how CFSO and other groups are addressing the problem and, new this year, suggestions of three things community members can do to help. In this case, that includes helping a neighbour to make repairs, creating an affordable rental suite in your home, or volunteering to help build low income housing.

“What we are trying to suggest to citizens is they pick an issue that is a passion for them and encourage them to do something — maybe it is big, maybe it is small — that will move the needle on these areas,” said McRann. “If we can encourage the community to come together and do a little bit, I think that can make a very large difference.”

Motivating and encouraging people to engage and contribute is one of the roles of the Vital Signs report.

“These problems are large problems that can’t be solved by any one group. It takes a community to solve those things,” said McRann. “The Community Foundation is not going to solve it, politicians  aren’t going to solve it. It is going to require everyone to do something.”

Copies of the report are available from the CFSO through their website at



Just Posted

Lightning in Kelowna, B.C. (Contributed)
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms overnight

Justin Fotherby,17, and Ashley McMillan, 17 have been chosen for an invitation only competition that sees 20 of Canada’s top swimmers per event vying for a spot at the upcoming 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. (Submitted)
Penticton swimmers off to Olympic trials

The pair are eyeing a spot on the Canadian team heading to the Tokyo Olympics

Bentley resting on a bench at Kal Park in Vernon not knowing there is a baby rattlesnake curled up below. Bentley jumped down and was bit by the snake. (Facebook)
Dog bit by baby rattler at popular Vernon park

The rattlesnake was hidden underneath a park bench when it struck out

Renderings of what the skating rink could look like beside City Hall between Martin and Main in downtown Penticton. (Activate Penticton image)
Outdoor skating rink back at Penticton council

City staff recommend going forward with rink which could host 2022 BCHL’s 60th year celebration

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

Most Read