Vancouver IslandSouth Coast – Comox Valley by housework


									Vancouver Island/South Coast –
Comox Valley

Active Comox Valley Builds Sustainable
August 2008

                                                increasing awareness of opportunities to       partnerships with community groups.
                                                get active among the general population        These include the Comox Valley Acces-
                                                and its target populations: Aboriginals,       sibility Committee, K’omoks First Nation,
                                                seniors, youth and people with economic        Comox Valley Kids, Cycling Task Force
                                                or physical disadvantages.                     (Bike to Work Week), Canadian Diabetes
                                                                                               Association, Canadian Cancer Society,
                                                “We’re reaching special populations.
                                                                                               Comox Valley Tri-K, elementary schools,
                                                It’s a more focused approach,” Butler
                                                                                               Berwick seniors’ residence, MS Society,
                                                noted. Comox Valley’s Active Communi-
                                                                                               Courtenay Osteoporosis Support Group,
                                                ties initiative—Active Comox Valley—is a
                                                                                               Heart and Stroke Foundation, CUPE Lo-
                                                health promotion strategy encouraging all
                                                                                               cal 439, Spirit of BC committee, Ovarian
                                                citizens of the Comox Valley to be active
                                                                                               Cancer Walk for Hope, Comox Valley
                                                every day. The ACV steering committee
                                                                                               Prescription for Health, TOPS (Take Off
                                                represents four local governments—the
                                                                                               Pounds Sensibly) Lighthouse Beach
                                                Comox Valley Regional District, the Town
                                                                                               Bash, Katimavik, and the Young Chefs on
                                                of Comox, the City of Courtenay, and the
                                                                                               the Run program. Sponsors also include
                                                Village of Cumberland—as well as Cour-
                                                                                               Thrifty Foods, the Comox Valley Record
                                                tenay Recreation Association, Comox
                                                                                               newspaper and The Eagle radio station.
                                                Recreation Commission, Black Creek
By being visible at existing active events in   Community Association, Vancouver Is-           ACV offers tools and resources (such as
the community and linking with new part-        land Health Authority, School District 71,     pedometers and the map brochures) to
ner organizations, Active Comox Valley          and 19 Wing Comox Air Force Base.              its partners. In addition, its partners re-
(ACV) is getting the word out to residents                                                     ceive exposure to their initiatives through
                                                The initiative originally got off the ground   ACV’s promotional work. One of ACV’s
of all abilities to make healthy choices.
                                                with the help of a $35,000 grant through       projects involved creating and putting
                                                the Union of BC Municipalities’ Commu-         up signs (six feet tall) in malls and busi-
The ACV group has shifted its direction
                                                nity Health Promotion Fund in 2006. Local      nesses to raise awareness of the benefits
this year from starting up its own programs
                                                governments in the valley have since kept      of physical activity and opportunities to
and events to instead focusing on linking
                                                ACV funding going.                             get active nearby. The signs contain the
with community groups that already offer
active living initiatives and events.           “We’re highlighting our successes to           trail and walkway map brochures the ACV
                                                date to each council,” Butler reported.        committee produced: 12 Great Places to
“We found that we were actually dupli-                                                         Get Active in Comox Valley and Another
                                                “They have all been very receptive.”
cating programs so there was confusion                                                         12 Great Places to Get Active for FREE.
out there,” explained ACV Coordinator           To measure the impact of its health pro-       “We realized that we have so many trails
Robyn Butler. “In the past we were having       motion efforts, ACV commissioned phone         out there that people might not know
events and there were too many other            surveys of 2,800 valley residents in 2006      about,” Butler said. The mobile signs and
events going on the same day, so we             and 2008 with subsidies from BCRPA             12 Great Places brochures were funded
weren’t getting the bodies out that we          through Active Communities. Those re-          through a $5,000 Active Communities
should have. It has been very success-          porting an awareness of either the 20%         grant from the BCRPA in 2007.
ful to date because we’ve been able to          by 2010 challenge or the local Active
increase our partnerships and ultimately                                                       “People are excited. I just got a call from
                                                Communities initiative jumped from 19%
increase awareness through those dif-                                                          a woman the other day saying there’s a
                                                of respondents in 2006 to 25% in 2008.
ferent channels.”                                                                              great trail near her house that should be
                                                To further ensure that ACV is here to          on the map,” Butler noted.
As a result of the new partnerships, ACV is     stay, the committee has formed new
Vancouver Island/South Coast –                                                                  Active Comox Valley
Comox Valley                                                                                    Highlights

                                                                                                    Developed a logo and website: www.

                                                                                                                                               Vancouver Island/South Coast – Comox Valley
      “People are excited. I just got a call                                              
                                                                                                    Created a workplace wellness pilot

     from a woman the other day saying                                                              program
                                                                                                    Held free monthly guided walks in
      there’s a great trail near her house                                                          Produced map brochures: 12 Great
                                                                                                    Places to Get Active in the Comox
         that should be on the map.”                                                                Valley and Another 12 Great Places to
                                                                                                    Get Active for FREE
                                                                                                    Organized annual Spring Meltdown
                                                  - Robyn Butler                                    for participants to log activities for a
                                                                                                    Held a free Family Fun Day in 2006
                                                                                                    with active games, interactive
The map brochures include six wheel-                                                                workshops and healthy snacks
chair-accessible trails. ACV worked with
                                                                                                    Linked with organizations hosting
its partner, the Comox Valley Accessibility                                                         existing active living events              04
Committee, to develop the maps of trails
                                                                                                    Worked with Accessibility Committee
accessible to wheelchairs, strollers and
                                                                                                    to promote accessible trails
scooters. In addition to businesses, the
brochures were also distributed to recre-                                                           Received $35,000 grant from the
                                                                                                    Union of BC Municipalities’ Com-
ation centres, visitor information centres,
                                                                                                    munity Health Promotion Fund in
Welcome Wagon, Comox Valley Nursing
                                                                                                    2006 to develop Active Comox Valley
Centre, 19 Wing Family Resource Centre,                                                             initiative
and libraries. More than 8,000 copies
                                                                                                    Received $5,000 Active Communi-
of the brochures have been picked up
                                                                                                    ties grants from the BC Recreation
throughout the Comox Valley.                   based on steps logged. More than 300                 and Parks Association in 2007 (to
                                               valley residents participated in the Spring          develop signage and map brochures)
“I always have to go and re-stock.             Meltdown this year.                                  and 2008 (to improve access to the
They’re always running low, so it’s a                                                               Riverway Walk)
good thing,” Butler noted. 12 Great            ACV’s pedometer program extended to
                                               a new partnership with the K’omoks First             Received $5,000 subsidies from
Places was also published in the local
                                                                                                    BCRPA through Active Communities
newspaper and can be downloaded from           Nation. Butler provided pedometers to
                                                                                                    in 2006 and 2008 to commission
partner websites and www.activecomox-          Band members who were training for the
                                                                                                    surveys measuring residents’ physi- This website also features ACV      10-kilometre Vancouver Sun Run this year.            cal activity levels
newsletters, links to partner organizations’   The 15 Band members—who dubbed
                                                                                                    Received pedometers through
websites, media coverage, and informa-         themselves Band on the Run—used the
                                                                                                    the ActNow BC Activity Challenge
tion on events, programs and resources.        pedometers and ACV maps during their                 pedometer grants program
The website has been an effective tool         training. They started off their training by
                                                                                                    19 schools registered with Action
for keeping the public, partners and local     walking, but some discovered they had the
                                                                                                    Schools! BC in School District 71
councils informed of ACV’s activities.         stamina to run on race day. “They were as-
                                               tounded that from using the pedometers
ACV also continues to raise awareness of       they were able to see the improvements
its pedometer and Spring Meltdown cam-         in their training,” Butler observed. “A lot of
paigns. The Spring Meltdown encourages         them had never been in a fun run before
participants to log at least 30 minutes of     so they were just so excited to actually
activity each day in 10-minute slots. ACV      get to that goal. The pedometers really
received pedometers through the ActNow         helped with being a motivational tool.”
BC Activity Challenge pedometer grants         With this new relationship established,
program. Pedometers were distributed to        Butler hopes to involve the K’omoks Band         Photo Credits:
Spring Meltdown participants, along with       in other ACV campaigns.                          Page 4: Photo courtesy of Robin Rivers,
incentive prizes from local businesses                                                                  Our Big Earth
Vancouver Island/South Coast –                                                                 Comox Valley Info
Comox Valley
                                                                                                  Population: Comox: 13,139;
                                                                                                  Courtenay: 23,911; Cumberland:
                                                                                                  3,018 (BC Stats 2007)
                                                                                                  Located along the Strait of Georgia
                                                                                                  on Vancouver Island with a mild
                                                                                                  year-round climate
                                                                                                  Home to the K’omoks First Nation
                                                                                                  Awarded the distinction of Cultural
                                                                                                  Capital of Canada for 2007
                                                                                                  Public recreation facilities include
                                                                                                  Comox Valley Aquatic Centre, Sports
                                                                                                  Centre, Exhibition Grounds
                                                                                                  Mount Washington and Strathcona
                                                                                                  Provincial Park offer year-round
                                                                                                  outdoor recreation opportunities
                                                                                                  Major employers are 19 Wing Comox
                                                                                                  Canadian Air Force Base, St. Joseph’s
                                                                                                  Hospital, School District 71 and
                                                                                                  Mount Washington Alpine Resort


Some of ACV’s other partners have also        commuters, as well as a free place for
made use of the pedometers. Staff and         people of all abilities to get active. “For
students at elementary schools, along         Bike to Work Week, people were using
with residents and staff at the Berwick       it because they realized they didn’t have
retirement residence have clipped on          to ride on the busy through-ways, they
pedometers. Pedometers were also dis-         could go along the nice river way,” Butler
tributed by ACV volunteers at community       observed. “So we’re finding all different
events, like the Walk for MS, and through     segments of the population are able to
local recreation centres. Over 1,200 free     utilize it.” A $5,000 Active Communities
pedometers were distributed valley-wide,      grant from BCRPA awarded this summer
with more interested residents requesting     funded increasing and improving access
them, so ACV purchased 100 more from          points to the walkway.
ActNow BC at a bulk rate.
                                              With more people being seen out on the
To raise awareness of more places to step
                                              trails and incorporating activities into their
out, ACV has been promoting the City of
                                              days, the efforts of ACV and its partners
Courtenay’s 10-kilometre Riverway Walk.
                                              will likely continue to impact healthy life-
The path along the Courtenay River pro-
                                              style choices for years to come.
vides an active transportation corridor for

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