Sechelt, BC – Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) has formalized a collaborative relationship with the Town of Gibsons, the Town of Sechelt and the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) to help promote better health for their residents.
Gibsons, Sechelt and the SCRD and VCH have signed the Healthy Communities Collaboration Agreement which outlines how the organizations will work together toward common health goals.
“A Canadian Senate report says 10% of health outcomes can be attributable to our physical or built environment and 50% is related to socio-economic factors,” says Dr. Paul Martiquet, medical health officer at VCH. “The environments in which people live, work, learn and play all contribute to our health. Along with health authorities, local governments play a key role in creating supportive environments and public policies that can help reduce risk factors related to chronic disease, like smoking, and physical inactivity.”
Priority projects under the agreement will include:
- Healthy neighbourhood design, housing, and natural environments.
- Focus on food security and healthy eating including implementing the Agricultural Area Plan.
- Better access to recreational opportunities, active transportation (e.g. biking), guidelines for public paths and stairs.
- Stronger smoke-free policies at parks and recreation facilities.
- Improved early childhood development and daycare services.
The next step will be to develop a detailed two year work plan.
The provincial government launched the Healthy Families BC communities initiative in 2011 to improve the health and well-being of British Columbians. The initiative involves building stronger relationships between the health sector and local governments to build healthier communities. Particular emphasis is given to the key areas of physical activity, healthy eating, reducing tobacco use, healthy-built environments, and priority populations. As part of the strategy the provincial government is partnering with local government and health authorities.
Since the launch of the initiative, VCH has also forged agreements with Squamish, Vancouver, Richmond, Powell River, the District of West Vancouver, and the District and City of North Vancouver.
VCH is responsible for the delivery of $3.4 billion in community, hospital and residential care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.
Tiffany Akins, Communications Leader
Vancouver Coastal Health