Vital Signs to catch pulse of Okanagan Similkameen

Okanagan Similkameen residents encouraged to complete Vital Signs survey to indicate issues facing communities.

Aaron McRann is hoping to catch the pulse of the Okanagan Similkameen in a survey touching on a number of topics that directly affect every resident.

“The goal of the report is to take the pulse of the communities and provide citizens with a sense of where their community is at and what areas need to be addressed,” said McRann, executive director for the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan. “The report is an important discussion piece for our communities as it indicates issues that are facing our citizens.”

The foundation is picking up from their initial survey, released in 2011, called Vital Signs. Statistical data and community input will be collected for the second Vital Signs Report with a focus on all communities within the boundaries of the RDOS.

“The great thing about the program is that it is in approximately 30 other communities across the country so we have other successes to look to,” said McRann.

The inaugural report showed Penticton had its work cut out on housing, the gap between the rich and the poor and work, which all received a D+ grade or lower. The grades were based on the public’s opinion from 660 respondents, but this time they are hoping for over 1,000.

“I am very curious to see if there will be some changes, and I think there will be, but I don’t think there has been a dent in it yet. All of these things are big issues and they aren’t going to change immediately,” said McRann. “I’m as curious as the next person to see what the results are

Vital Signs has been of ultimate benefit to non-profit  groups who McRann said have used the report as independent supporting documentation to receive grants for a variety of programs.

A community forum on poverty also came out of the report and deemed a success opening up a frank discussion on the realities and struggles many in the city face. As a result many community organizations made connections to work together on a variety of projects said McRann.

“From an operational perspective for the local non-profit sector, it has been valuable for them to be able to plan and apply for grants and justify funding requests. For us we use it in our granting process every year in the criteria to filter through the applications,” said McRann, adding it has been an anchor point for many organizations starting conversations about how to address some of the issues touched on.

The Vital Signs survey can be found at, or, individuals can also contact the Community Foundation office at 250-493-9311 or at to have a copy mailed to them. McRann said it takes anywhere from two to eight minutes to complete. The report will be available Oct. 1.

Just Posted

Rob and Anthony are the city’s new parking ambassadors who are sharing information with businesses and the public about the new pay parking. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Penticton hires team to inform people on city’s new pay parking system

The pair will spend at least a month helping businesses and residents navigate new pay parking system

This photo of the small wildfire burning above Naramata was taken at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021 (Monique Tamminga Western News)
UPDATE: Fire above Naramata is an illegal open burn

Smoke is still billowing from the blaze Friday morning

Keremeos’ heritage Grist Mill and Gardens. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Keremeos Grist Mill looking forward to restrictions easing with exclusive concert planned

Juno Award-winning folk artist Valdy is set to take the stage

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will host the Valley Wide Business Expo May 4 at Predator Ridge Resort. (photo submitted)
Golf raffle helps Okanagan families score homes

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan swinging into action this summer with a new raffle

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

Wild rabbits are all over Chilliwack, but people often think they’re someone’s lost pet and try to ‘save’ them. But the owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room says good intentions can have bad consequences for wild animals. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room asks people to leave wild animals in the wild

Amber Quiring says people who think they’re helping are actually doing more harm than good

Fanny Chapman doesn’t just serve up Mexican flavours at the Kal Lake Food concession at Kal Beach, she also teaches Spanish. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernonites asked to share funniest Spanish translation stories

Mexicans living in town holding a contest to offer free Spanish classes

Hundreds of people, young and old, joined the three-day Walking Our Spirits Home procession, honouring residential school survivors, those who never made it home and all those affected by the institutions. Here people walk the third portion on June 13. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Walking Our Spirits Home from Kamloops provides path to healing

First Nations in and beyond Secwépemc territory join in to honour residential school survivors

A search is underway for David Borden in Oyama, since he was last seen Wednesday, June 16. (Contributed)
Search underway for missing Okanagan man

Vernon Search and Rescue, RCMP checking via land, water and air

Canadian blues sensation Colin James will close down Saturday night, Aug. 14 of the 2021 digital Salmon Arm Roots Blues Festival. (Black Press Media file photo)
Salmon Arm’s Roots & Blues Festival returns online after 2020 success

Nine acts, including Colin James, Caleigh Cardinal, to perform on festival website Aug. 13 and 14.

A truck rolled several times off Highway 6 in Coldstream Thursday night, sending two to hospital. (RCMP photo)
Rollover near Vernon sends 2 to hospital

Highway 6 closed temporarily while emergency crews extricated occupants

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

Most Read