SYDNEY — A public charity has released a report providing a snapshot of quality of life in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality as it compares to the rest of the province and the country.
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Allison Kouzovnikov, executive director of the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia, said the report Cape Breton Regional Municipality's Vital Signs is the fifth of its kind in the province.
The report series was launched in 2009 after a group behind an endowment fund in Wolfville, N.S., wanted to explore ways to direct resources back into the community.
"This report comes at an important time in CBRM's history because CBRM is just coming off 10 years of a huge economic stimulus in the form of two separate remediation projects, which has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into the community," said Kouzovnikov. "So the impact of that is seen in the data points. If you look at things like employment growth, those numbers are quite good and do exceed both the provincial and national averages."
Kouzovnikov said the report, which was funded through private donations, raises the question of what happens now that projects such as mine remediation and the cleanup of the Sydney tar ponds have winded down.
"There's also been a fairly significant population decline and so clearly not everyone in the community has been able to benefit from those projects and they have moved away for greener pastures," said Kouzovnikov. "The question then is how do we stem that tide of outmigration to enable the community to have an appropriate balance of demographic segments."
Findings of the report show that in 2011 there were 2,925 more people working in the CBRM than in 2001.
However, during that time period the CBRM's population declined by 8.1 per cent or 8,570 people (of which 58.9 per cent were under 15 years of age.)
The CBRM now has the oldest median age at 47.5 years compared to seven comparable urban centres in Atlantic Canada.
Report statistics also showed a disparity in the level of poverty in the CBRM compared to the rest of the province and Canada.
Three years ago, the CBRM reported an overall poverty rate of 20 per cent, which was 19.5 per cent higher than the provincial rate and 39 per cent higher than the national rate, according to the report.
Other report findings show the daily commute to work in the CBRM is comparable to Nova Scotia average and lower than the national average.
Meanwhile, the CBRM scored lowest on the total crime severity index compared to other Atlantic Canadian cities, including Saint John, Charlottetown, St. John's, Moncton, Fredericton and Halifax.
At the same time, the CBRM recorded the second highest total youth crime rate in 2012 with 4,276 youths charged with a Criminal Code offence per 100,000.
Out of the same comparable cities, the CBRM had the fourth highest violent crime rate among youth.
Kouzovnikov said the basic findings of the report were compiled by a Cape Breton University student who was hired in June.
The official launch of the document will take place today at 10 a.m. at CBU's Verschuren Centre.
A panel discussion will feature CBU president David Wheeler, Sydney physician Dr. Mary Doyle, CBU program development scientist David Alderson, and Ian McNeil, a manager with the Cape Breton Partnership.