The more we participate, join in, volunteer, vote, and make our voices heard, the greater our feeling of belonging. And, as we contribute to the life of the community, we provide leadership to others. Powell River offers many ways to participate but not everyone finds them easily accessible.
In the 2011 federal election, voter turnout in our riding (West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky) was 64.2%, 2.8 percentage points higher than the national turnout (61.4%) and 3.1 points higher than the provincial turnout (61.1%). This was a 1.3% increase from voter turnout in 2008. In the 2013 provincial election, voter turnout in the Powell River-Sunshine Coast riding was 63.24%. That’s better than 59.6% in the 2009 election, and better than the provincial turnout of 55.32% in 2013. In the 2014 City elections, 4357 people out of 10764 eligible voters cast their ballots—a voter turnout of 40.47%. This was a decrease compared to 2008, with a turnout of 47.6%, but still better than 2005 with 38.8%.
In 2013, 21.95% of people in Powell River (CA) who filed a tax return declared charitable donations, which is about the same as the national rate (21.9%) and 1.25 percentage points above the provincial rate (20.7%). This total is down 1.2 percentage points from people who claimed charitable donations in 2012 (23.2%). In 2013, the median charitable donation for Powell River was $390, which is up 30% from its 2008 level of $300. For the same year, the median charitable donation was $400 for BC and $280 for Canada (amounts are in current dollars).
Sense of Belonging
78% of Powell River residents say they have a strong sense of belonging to the community. This compares with 58% for the whole Vancouver Coastal health region and 69% for BC as a whole. A survey of Inclusion Powell River clients in 2013 asked the question, “Do you feel you are part of your community?” 51% answered Yes, and 20% answered Somewhat.
Seniors Living Alone
Across all ages in Powell River, 15.1% of the population live alone, and the split by gender is quite even—14.6% of males and 15.6% of females live by themselves. The picture for seniors, however, is different. For everyone 65 and older in Powell River, 30% live alone, with 20.9% of males and 38.7% of females living by themselves.
From the Survey …
Do you feel that you can take part in or affect important community decisions?
While overall, more than 50% of responders felt that they could affect community decisions, those feelings varied depending on how long a person lived in Powell River. People who have been here 10 years or less were most likely to feel that they play a small role in affecting decisions. Those here for 11-20 years were most likely to actively participate in community decisions. 6-10 year residents were the largest group of those who felt that they were being ignored.
Powell River’s Top 5 List
In 2014, Powell River Voices carried out a “values survey” and collected 680 responses. The top five issues identified by the Powell River residents who responded were:
5. New library (in favour)
3. Ferry cuts
2. Environmental concerns (e.g., logging, Texada coal terminal)
1. Jobs/economic diversification 27