Victoria's Vital Signs Solid but Could be Better

   
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"I love the pace, I love the weather, I love everywhere you look there's ocean. I love the people," says one woman downtown. There's a lot to love here. People polled for Victoria's Vital Signs report have selected their favourites: the natural environment, climate, walkability, air quality, and festivals and events. Despite the reports finding, as always, that Greater Victoria is a pretty nice place to live, the highest grade handed out in Vital Signs for any aspect of the community is only a B, for three things: the well-used public library system, the dedication of volunteers to preserve parks, and the number of Olympic and Paralympic athletes from this area that competed in London. On the flip side, the region's greatest issues are words we hear a lot. People polled for Vital Signs place cost of living and homelessness at the top of the "to fix" list and poverty is rising. Greater Victoria's living wage is creeping higher. Two people making minimum wage - $10.25/hour - need to work nearly 62 hours a week. Each. Increased transit ridership is praised in the report but people polled say it's still difficult to get around. "The transit system is not ideal, there's that awful bottleneck between the west shore and downtown," says one man we spoke to. On the health front, Vital Signs says people on the south island are more likely to be heavy drinkers than the average Canadian and more children are waiting for surgery longer than recommended wait times at Victoria General Hospital than the national average. It's a lot to digest, which is why we're lucky to be near the water. I like having access to the ocean and being able to go down and scream at the ocean because I feel like I need to freak out sometimes," says one man. We can hear the pitch now: Visit sunny Victoria - a great place to vent. Follow Andrew Johnson on Twitter:

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