Located just a few kilometers from the city center of Halifax, Spryfield is considered as an urban community with easy access to both natural environments and commercial/business structures. In terms of community health jurisdiction, Spryfield falls under Community Health Network 2 or the Chebucto Community Health Team. Spryfield is a great neighborhood to live in in terms of accessibility to essential establishments. However, just like any other community, Spryfield suffers from a number of health issues. One of which is the prevalence of poverty.
This paper is aimed to present the issue of poverty in the community of Spryfield. A community assessment was conducted to be able to understand and create a snapshot of Spryfield as a community. Determinants of health within the community that contributed to the issue of poverty will also be discussed. Programs that are in place to help solve this issue as well as the role of the Community Health Nurse will be presented in this paper.
The community assessment was accomplished through different methods. Observation of the community was done through walking and driving around the neighborhood. Online information about the health demographics of the community was also utilized as well as online news articles. Finally, interviews were conducted with neighbors and members of the Community Wellness Centre.
Spryfield Community in Halifax, Nova Scotia is abundant with the natural environment and built environments. Natural bodies of water such as lakes, streams, ponds, and a river are found within this community (We are Spryfield, 2006). As I was driving around the community, I was able to come across a lot of greenery. Even though Spryfield is just outside the city center of Halifax, it doesn’t feel like you are living in an urban area because you are surrounded with nature.
Spryfield has several grocery stores, pharmacies, doctors’ offices, banks, restaurants, barbers, hairdressers, veterinary services, and other establishments all within a 5 to 10-minute drive. You will find most of these establishments along Herring Cove Road and Dentith Road. The area surrounding these two roads is considered the center of the community. There is a Community Wellness Centre located at the Spryfield Shopping Centre where residents can access various health services.
Most of the apartment buildings in the area are run down and need repair or renovation. I live in one of these apartment buildings and when I moved in, the unit was in really bad condition. The condition of the hallway also reflects how old the building is. It took a lot of convincing in my part to have the owner do repairs. In an interview, G.McGillis, a fellow churchgoer, mentioned that they have the same issue in their apartment building (personal communication, March 8, 2020). Most housing in the community whether rental or owned appears to need major repairs. There is one public housing community located in Spryfield which is Greystone (Capital Health, 2014).
Captain William Spry Community Centre which has a pool and meeting rooms is one place where residents of the community congregate. People also congregate in various churches with different religious affiliations. I was able to go to two of these churches and it is where I met the residents of Spryfield. It is also where I felt a sense of community.
There are four schools in Spryfield namely, Elizabeth Sutherland School, Rockingstone Heights Elementary School, J.L. Ilsey High School, and Central Spryfield School (We Are Spryfield, 2006).
The Community Wellness Centre is a joint partnership of Capital Health, Dalhousie Family Medicine, the IWK Health Centre and the Chebucto Communities Development Association, this is where community-based health services can be accessed int the area (Nova Scotia Health Authority, 2020). This facility offers free wellness programs for the community. They also offer specific programs for health issues in the community. There are several nursing homes and residential care facilities located in Spryfield where the community’s seniors and those needing long-term care reside. There are doctors’ offices as well as walk-in clinics in the community. There is also a blood collection clinic in the area.
Spryfield offers both indoor and outdoor recreational facilities. One major indoor recreational facility is The Captain William Spry Community Centre which supports the community through recreation programs, meeting spaces, the wave pool, and the library. The Spryfield Lions Rink is where the residents enjoy skating or playing hockey as well as watching Chebucto Minor Hockey games (We Are Spryfield, 2006). The most popular park in Spryfield is the Long Lake Provincial Park where people do recreational activities but mostly in the summer. There are also smaller parks in the area where the residents take their kids to play and engage with other kids. Schools in Spryfield also have baseball and soccer fields.
A lot of residents in Spryfield travel using their own vehicles. This contributes to very slow traffic along Herring Cove Road just before the Armdale Rotary during rush hour. Residents also have access to public transportation such as buses and taxis. Route 9A, 9B, and 32 of the Halifax Transit service the area of Spryfield. There are also bikers and pedestrians who travel by foot in the community. Along Herring Cove Road, I have seen an ample number of pedestrian lane crossings but, there is still a threat to pedestrian safety as a lot of drivers go beyond the speed limit and sometimes do not halt when the pedestrian crossing lights are blinking.
Since Spryfield is part of the greater Halifax Regional Municipality, the governing body for Halifax also governs Spryfield. There are districts that consist of HRM and Spryfield belongs to District 11 with Steve Adams as councilor (Halifax, 2020).
Spryfield is a community with a diverse population. People from different races, ethnic origins, immigration statuses, and social statuses live in this community.
According to the 2016 Census, Spryfield has a population of 11,700. Of this population, 65% belongs to the working-age population (20-64). Specific age groups' percentages are as follows: 0 to 14 is 16%, 15 to 24 is 11%, 25-39 is 22%, 40 to 64 is 38%, and 65 and over is 13% of the total population. People living in families is 57% of the population while the rest are either living alone or are in a lone-family household. In Spryfield, 10.5% of the residents are immigrants and non-permanent residents. The population percentage of those who are racially visible is 14%. Spryfield has 8.2% of its population with Aboriginal origin while 62% of the residents are of European origin. In 2016, 52% of Spryfield residents 15 years of age and over had a high school certificate or less. Those with university certificates, diplomas or degrees consist of 20% of the total population. (DWPilkey Consulting For United Way Halifax, 2018)
Spryfield’s average family income is $57,600 compared to $86,800 for Halifax Regional Municipality. Spryfield’s couple families with children's average income is 72% of the HRM average. Lone-parent families and those who are living alone have much lower household incomes. The After Tax Low Income Measure shows 40% of Spryfield children, 26% of the working age, and 25% of seniors live in households with low income. Fifty-seven percent of the population were employed, 6% were unemployed and 37% were not in the labor force. The reasons for people not being in the labor force include having mental and physical disabilities, single mothers with small children, seniors, and discouraged workers not looking for employment. Thirty percent of Spryfield’s workforce belongs to low-paying jobs such as sales and service jobs. (DWPilkey Consulting For United Way Halifax, 2018)