Resources for Small, Rural and Remote Communities
Now Available: Resources tailored to the rural community context!
This resource portal is a response to the unique opportunities, challenges, and approaches to fostering health and well-being in small, rural and remote communities in BC. The portal offers resources related to PlanH action areas with a rural lens.
The Rural Context
There are over 110 cities, towns, municipalities and villages in BC and of those, over 75% are small, rural or remote communities of less than 30,000 people.i A healthy community approach takes resources and leadership. This can be challenging in small and remote communities where there are fewer organizations, resources and volunteers to do the work. There is often no organization to lead on new or emerging issues like food security or support for seniors at home, and yet the need is often there.
On the positive side, there are many tools and examples of rural success and innovation. Many of these examples are stories of collaborating across sectors, and all of them illustrate “can do” attitudes and creativity to improve well-being.
Resources are organized by the same Take Action Areas as the rest of the PlanH site (Healthy Society, Healthy People, Healthy Environment), for ease of searching.
If you find the portal useful, or if you are looking for something specific, we would love to hear from you in the next year as we continue to build out the resources. Contact us here.
Louise Richmond of Salmon Arm City Council explains an amazing new project to bring art to their local trail network. The art can be enjoyed by city residents using the trails and will ultimately become a photo book to be shared more widely. This video was filmed at the 2015 UBCM Convention.
Taylor Bachrach, Mayor of Smithers, speaks to the importance of measuring indicators of success that are meaningful to healthy communities, such as crime rates and air quality. The Town of Smithers have been working in collaboration with Northern Health to measure these community indicators. This interview was recorded at the 2015 UBCM Convention.
The Active Travel to School Comox Valley initiative is an example of collaborative local action with far-reaching benefits to health and well-being in the community.
In this interview recorded at the 2013 UBCM Convention, Emanuel Machado, chief administrative officer, speaks about how the Town of Gibsons aligned community and council objectives and planning documents to create a sustainability framework which includes community well-being as a goal.
This article shares the story of how teachers, businesses, government agencies, and a community association came together to address youth retention by creating a new high school program: Eco-Ventures.
- Sue Rickards
The City of Port Alberni is a key example of how municipalities can reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in their community. Their success is attributed to strong interdepartmental collaboration and prioritizing action.
Powell River's two-day Walkability Forum helped community members see the linkages between health and the built environment. The Forum is an example of local governments and a health authority working together on implementing a common priority - active transportation.
The District of Houston created a Health and Wellness Charter that helps the northern community cope with challenges, plan effectively, and work towards a shared vision that provides greater health for all residents. The Charter incorporates contributions from partners and organisations within the rural community and stakeholders from across the Bulkley-Nechako region.
This study includes a literature review and approach that may be useful for other rural regions that are asking themselves "How can we get there (accessible affordable transportation for all) from here"?
- Alberni Clayoquot Regional District
The Resilient Streets Toolkit includes information about resilience, different types of practical actions that small groups can take, examples of successful projects that people have done in their buildings or on their streets, information about supports that can be offered to groups, and loads of links to useful resources.
Describes the steps and actions needed to develop and implement local community economic development strategies in smaller rural communities.
– Alberta Community and Co-operative Association
The Rural Health Information Hub provides short, accessible, evidence based descriptions of a range of models, innovations and initiatives. Use this as a stepping off point to dig deeper or adapt the innovation into your own community.
- Rural Health Information Hub
This publication documents research around eleven models of regional food aggregation and distribution in Wisconsin as a support for farmer and supply chain start-up planning. Authors: Lindsey Day-Farnsworth, Brent McCown, Michelle Miller, Anne Pfeiffer for UW-Extension Ag Innovation Center, UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
- University of Wisconsin Extension Ag Innovation Center and Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
The opening 30 pages of this guide provide a useful overview of research and literature related to thriving or resilient rural communities. The authors summarize five key traits of communities that thrive (willing to experiment with new ideas, positive mindset, a community plan, economic development capacity, leadership, healthy behaviours) and share examples from Australian small towns.
- Peter Kenyan and Allan Black, Australia