“We need to know the nuances, know the similarities and the differences in our communities,” said Lynn McIntyre, executive director of Perth and District Community Foundation (PDCF) while speaking at Perth Committee of the Whole June 13. The foundation wants to know what’s going on within the purview of its area – Town of Perth, Drummond/North Elmsley, Tay Valley and Lanark Highlands.
McIntyre explained that the foundation is doing this through a Vital Signs survey. “It’s a report card for our communities, how well we’re doing in relation to other communities, what needs to be improved,” and who has the greatest need. We know the quantitative, he adds. “We need the qualitative” through anecdotes.
The Vital Signs survey is the first to be done of its type in Lanark County, and McIntyre cautions there may be “stuff we don’t want to talk about” like transportation issues, or issues related to youth and mental health. Or even, does every small community need a hospital or a school (especially facing the issues of declining enrollment.) We need to show, he continues, that even though we’re small and rural we can be cost effective. “We can help decision makers make right decisions.”
The narrative from individuals provides emotion but “emotion doesn’t carry much weight at Queen’s Park.” PDCF needs hard data to show how important some of these issues are to our small communities, he concluded.
The Vital Signs survey will measure community well being and identify areas for improvement. It could take as little as 10 minutes to fill out; it can be found online at www.pdcf.ca, paper copies can be picked up or dropped off at any library in Lanark County, and if there are questions, call Jeff Kohl at 613-200-0655 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.