Child poverty ‘hidden’ scourge in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Medical chief: Long-term health of local youth impacted

People living in Parksville Qualicum Beach are generally healthy, however the region is among Vancouver Island’s worst for child poverty, according to health officials.

Dr. Paul Hasselback, medical health officer for Island Health, and Brenda Kent and Gerry Herkel of Oceanside Health and Wellness Network presented at Qualicum Beach town council last Monday (Aug. 21).

Hasselback presented on the local health area profile for Parksville Qualicum Beach while Kent and Herkel presented on OHWN overall and the priorities for the group.

Hasselback said in Parksville Qualicum Beach, there is a much higher proportion of children — about 30 per cent — living below a level of economic standard.

“Generally, if I go into a community, I will find that that proportion is similar when we start looking at adults and similar when we start looking at seniors as well. So the overall economic distribution and the spread of wealth within the community is pretty equal, even if the whole area is economically depressed or is doing economically well.”

RELATED: Childcare campaign seeks town’s support

However, Hasselback said, it’s a different situation in Qualicum Beach.

“What is different about Qualicum is we have such a high rate of children living in lower economic settings but a lower rate of seniors living in (lower) economic settings, and it’s that disparity in terms of the distribution of wealth which I think is one of the real challenges.”

Kent said the child poverty rate in Parksville Qualicum Beach is greater than the provincial average and is the fifth highest on Vancouver Island.

“This is not well-known and it’s often a surprise to people that we speak with in the community,” Kent said “It’s one of those things that tends to be hidden and people don’t always see it.”

She said the inequitable distribution of resources can become a concern down the road because income disparity in communities is link to poor health outcomes in the future.

“You may not see it now, but if this trend continues it’s something that will be a concern down the road,” Kent said.

Herkel said the OHWN had three priorities: child wellness, mental health and network development in PQB.

He said with child wellness, many children go to school hungry, and food security is one way to reduce that.

“We feel that by addressing food security, which is the availability and access of affordable and healthy, appropriate food is one way to reduce the impact of poverty across rural and urban Oceanside communities,” Herkel said.

At the meeting, Mayor Teunis Westbroek asked Hasselback about the opioid crisis and if there is any data for Qualicum Beach specifically.

Hasselback said there is a double to two-and-a-half times increase in the area, which is basically the School District 69 region.

“When you talk about Qualicum Beach specifically, it’s perhaps not as impacted, but the immediately surrounding areas, absolutely,” said Hasselback, adding there is a problem north of Parksville Qualicum Beach. “You are not protected in any way. This is something that’s close to home.”

Asked about what supports people in region can give, Hasselback said: “It’s about housing first, and access to housing. That’s something that you (town council) have a role to play in terms of low-barrier housing and availability. After housing, it’s about meaningful contributions to society, which we often call employment. Then we can start talking about what are the long-term sustainability issues.”

Story tips: lauren.collins@pqbnews.com

Just Posted

Coombs athlete, 91, brings home five gold medals from 55+ BC Games

Buschhaus now has 217 career senior games medals

Parksville-area thieves target catalytic converters

RCMP: ‘We’re getting the same thing in terms of theft of gas’

Courtenay-Alberni Liberal candidate discusses Trudeau’s ‘brownface’ controversy

Gowans: ‘I would say it’s disappointing for sure. It was racist, as the Prime Minister admitted to’

RCMP: No timeline for update on fatal hit-and-run in Parksville

Complexity of case a factor in length of the investigation

Mount Arrowsmith Brewing takes silver at World Beer Awards

Winning IPA made with centennial, citra and amarillo hops

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Most Read