From sticker shock at the grocery store to renting an apartment or renewing a mortgage, the cost of living in Greater Victoria has skyrocketed.
“I think inflation has impacted a lot of people, and I think it plays into your decision-making around how you run your household,” says Dallas Gislason of the South Island Prosperity Partnership.
And those rising costs are also having a big impact on the local economy.
“If you’re a business person, your cost of supplies is going up, your goods are going up, your labour costs are going up,” Dallas says. “If you’re carrying a loan, an operating loan, your loan costs or carrying costs are going up.”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that according to the latest Vital Signs report, the cost of living is the most important issue facing our community, followed by housing and homelessness.
“It’s important to do this check-in every year because we want to take the pulse of what’s happening in the community and really understand what people in greater Victoria are thinking,” explains Jonathon Dyck of the Victoria Foundation.
This is the 18th year for the Victoria Foundation‘s community report card, which saw its biggest response yet.
“This year we were very excited to have over 5,300 people in Greater Victoria take the survey,” Jonathon says. “That’s our largest amount of people have ever taken the survey, and that’s important because we want to hear from a broad range of people.”
The region’s overall grade dropped from a B+ in the last two years to a B. And while overall crime is down, violent crime is up 30 per cent since 2012.
“When you do come to certain parts of the city and you see very visually that what’s going on, those things play into where people want to spend their time,” Dallas says. “That will impact especially our downtown, when people have this perception of like, ‘okay, well I don’t want to go down there’.”
Improving safety is listed as a key way to improve quality of life, along with better public transportation, more affordable housing, lower cost of living, and addressing social issues like mental health and homelessness.
“When you look at what we’re doing as a community, we do have to move from hope to change and we have to do that together in order to make sure that this is a community that is vibrant for all,” says Jonathon.
The Victoria Foundation uses the Vital Signs information to provide grants and funding for non-profits working to make our community better.
“It’s one of those under-appreciated aspects of a regional economy — just the role that volunteers play, and nonprofits, and charities, and there’s so many great things going on around the region. It’s great to see how passionate people are.”