NOW LUNENBURG: What is the Quality of Life Index and why should you care if it shows up in your mailbox?
When NOW Lunenburg County received a request to be involved in the Quality of Life Index, a project initiated by Engage Nova Scotia, we were initially skeptical. It’s not the first time we have been asked to endorse or support a project. And we are not big fans of reports, since many of them have done little more than sit on a shelf collecting dust. Our province does not need another costly report or study to tell us what we already know.
However, this survey, we quickly understood, is a little bit different.
At the initial meeting, we learned that the Quality of Life Index might help people decide where they may live. Since we’ve spent the last two years actively inviting people to create a life they love in Lunenburg County, it made perfect sense for us to be involved. But we are fully aware that not everyone in our community has a life they love. We have some barriers that have made it challenging for everyone to enjoy a high quality of life. Lunenburg County is not immune to issues such as poverty, racism, we have a doctor shortage, we have food, housing and internet insecurity.
The Quality of Life Index is a survey that will be mailed to 80,000 Nova Scotians. It’s long. It asks over 180 questions. Whoever receives it and fills it out is making a 30-minute time commitment. But it’s an investment of time we need you to make, and this is why:
The Quality of Life Index will go ahead whether we endorsed it or not. The results will be released whether you toss it in the trash or take the time to fill it out. This survey is also an opportunity. We’re asking you to take advantage of this opportunity to make Lunenburg County’s quality of life known; whatever that means to you, good or bad.
If you receive it, consider yourself lucky. I know, you might not feel very lucky to receive a survey with over 180 questions, but you have a unique opportunity to share your voice; an opportunity that most of your neighbours won't have.
NOW Lunenburg County is sitting at the table with other leaders in our community, a group of about a dozen. When Engage Nova Scotia, who’s doing the survey, introduced the project to us, they were met with a borage of questions we posed on your behalf: What is going to happen with the results of this survey? Will the results help influence positive change? How can we be certain that the most vulnerable citizens, our youth and the elderly will have their voices heard? We explained that our reservations are likely the same as the community will have. Their answers left me feeling hopeful. If you receive the survey, and don’t do it, either in protest, apathy or just because you don’t want to do it, then we have squandered an opportunity to have our opinion heard. What results from the Quality of Life Index is another matter, and while those results might sit on a shelf I do not believe anyone wants that to happen, least of all us at NOW Lunenburg County.
I’m calling in a favour from you, the community who I love so much, asking you to check your mailbox carefully in late April and early May. When you sift through the litany of bills and junk mail, if you happen to stumble upon an envelope that asks you to take the Quality of Life Index survey, please fill it out. I’m encouraging you to follow the directions, perk a cup of tea or something a little stronger, take some time, clear your mind and complete it fully and honestly, on behalf of all of us.
For your effort, Now Lunenburg County will make a personal commitment to see that your time and your tea is not wasted. Thank you for taking the time to help with this research project and we promise the results won’t gather dust on our shelf — we will use this data to help inform our work.
Tina Hennigar is the population growth coordinator for NOW Lunenburg County.