Healthy, happy?

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Stroll around downtown St. John's on any day of the week and you'll cross paths with a wide variety of souls.

Young mothers and fathers toting toddlers. Seniors toting canes. Business people grabbing lunch. Teenagers grabbing attention. Musicians and artists, shoppers and survivors.

St. John's may be many things to many people, but most share one thing in common: they are proud of where they live and happy with the quality of life.

That's just one finding of a new comprehensive survey jointly commissioned by the St. John's Board of Trade and The Telegram. The poll, conducted over the past few weeks by MQO Research, sampled opinions within St. John's as well as the surrounding communities of Mount Pearl, Paradise, Conception Bay South and Portugal Cove.

The questions focused on every aspect of living in an urban region - from infrastructure and municipal services to economy and quality of life, from health care and policing to recreation and tourism.

Some of the results were predictable. Some raised a few eyebrows. Together, they paint a fascinating portrait of what makes St. John's residents tick - and what ticks them off.

Starting in today's edition and running for the next seven issues, The Telegram will roll out all of those numbers and explore what they mean in a series called MetroView. Reporters Steve Bartlett, Bonnie Belec, Daniel MacEachern and Barb Sweet will talk to the experts, the advocates and the politicians for their take on the results.

More importantly, they'll talk to ordinary citizens like you. They'll put a face on the numbers, and give them some meaning.

Today's coverage focuses on a topic foremost in everyone's mind: health.

Overall, metro residents are reasonably happy with health care in this region. But that doesn't mean everything's just peachy.

Only 42 per cent felt local health-care services deserved an A rating (8 out of 10 or higher). On the other hand, only seven per cent gave it a failing grade.

Clearly, most feel some improvements are needed. And the areas that stick out the most are access to assisted living for seniors and mental health services. In those areas, respectively, only 18 and 21 per cent of respondents answered 8 out of 10 or higher. In each case, the most common grade was 7.

More insight on the health-care front is provided by Barb Sweet in today's A section.

As MetroView delves into life in our corner of the country, we hope this exercise will lead to fruitful discussion about what's right in our communities and what needs work.

It may even help bring everyone just a little bit closer together.

Organizations: St. John's Board of Trade and The Telegram

Geographic location: St. John's, Mount Pearl, Portugal Cove

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