Nanaimo’s first Vital Signs study is out.

More than 900 people responded to the Community Foundation’s survey.

They point to natural environment, parks, and climate as the 3 best things about Nanaimo, and employment, community planning & development, and affordable housing as the 3 most important issues facing the city.

Tim Mawdsley, Chaired the Vital Signs project.

People were also asked to grade the city several issues… The worst was a C-minus for the “Gap between rich and poor”.

John Horn is Naniamo’s Social Planning Director.

The Sunshine Coast Community Foundation also released it’s Vital Signs survey yesterday.

The local economy, challenges for low income earners and a scarcity of suitable housing were the main concerns.  Arts and culture, public safety and health care were some of the positives

Vital Signs Manager Don Basham says that’s pretty consistent with what they found in 2009 and 2011.

Basham says signs the economy is moving in the right direction are a steady increase in retail sales since 2007 and a steady decline in the unemployment rate.

He also says the population is continuing to skew toward an older demographic, meaning unless more is done to attract, and keep, working age people nearly 85 per cent of Sunshine Coasters will be either under 18 or over 64 by 2022.