There is an emerging understanding of the importance of creating healthier communities, yet we have few tools to comprehensively measure progress in this regard. In the absence of such tools, many rely on simplistic progress indicators that have limited if any relationship with community wellbeing, or on speculation alone.

The Town of Smithers, Northern Health, and the Bulkley Valley Social Planning Society have established aPartnering for Healthier Communities Committee and are working to explore and define a set of community vitality indicators for Smithers. The Terms of Reference for the Committee can be seen here.

Our goal, is to establish, measure, and report annually on a set of indicators that will accurately reflect trends in the vitality and wellbeing of the community of Smithers in all of its dimensions.  This process was started through a community forum on October 8th, 2015, that gathered a variety of community leaders to discuss what we should measure as a community and who can help.

The ultimate goal is to continue this multi-partner community health indicator/report card that gives as complete a picture as possible of community health and that can be easily and collectively updated to track progress and achievements. Ongoing, annual forums will support community groups to learn about the work of others in the community, build connections and partnerships and allow the work to continue and grow. The working group is hopeful that Stream Two: Imagining Community Resilience - Supporting Partnering for Healthier Communities Committees and Initiatives grant from Northern Health will help to support annual forums and more particularly a First Smithers Community Vitality Report Card in 2016.

Back ground information: 

Think piece – introduction to community Vitality Indicators (attached below)

What was talked about on October 8th, 2015 at the Community Forum on Community Vitality:

One-Page summary – After Thoughts October 16th, 2015 (attached below)
Audio link to keynote speaker Dr. Trevor Hancock October 7th, 2015.  Over the past 30 years, as an internationally recognized health promotion leader, Dr. Hancock has helped put health on the agenda of thousands of cities and towns around the world.
Full Summary of the October 8th, Community Forum (attached below)

What’s Next:

The Partnering for Healthier Communities Committee has been working to review the input and information gathered at the October 8th, 2015 Community Forum.  The Committee hopes to have a draft ready for the community to review by Spring of 2016. This draft will serve as a discussion piece for the community and the Committee together with the community will work to strengthen and evolve the Report Card in successive years.

Thank you on behalf of the Partnering for Healthier Communities Committee