There’s good news and bad news for the City of Campbell River in the results of the latest “Citizen Satisfaction Survey.”
The good news is that 98 per cent of those who responded to the survey rated the “overall quality of life” in town as “good” or “very good,” and 97 per cent rated it a good place to raise children. Both those numbers are up from the last time the survey was conducted in 2016.
The bad news is that the city lost percentage points in many categories in the survey compared to how it was doing in 2016.
For example, in 2016, 86 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement “In general, I believe the City of Campbell River is doing a good job.” This year only 78 per cent agreed with that assessment, but that number is still well up from the only 53 per cent of people who had that level of satisfaction with council and administrative decisions.
Only 64 per cent of people in the most recent survey said they believe they receive good value for their tax dollars, compared to 73 per cent in 2016.
And almost one-third (29 per cent) of respondents feel that the city’s quality of life has worsened over the past three years, while only 17 per cent feel it has improved, with 42 per cent feeling it has done neither. In 2016, only 17 per cent thought it had worsened over the three years previous and 24 per cent felt it had improved.
The respondents also said the most important issue facing Campbell River is homelessness and addiction issues, a change from 2016, when the local economy was the top concern. Affordability of housing registered as an issue of note for the first time in the report for this year’s survey results, but only eight per cent of respondents said it is the “single most important issue facing the city.”
The survey was mailed to 1,200 randomly-selected households this past September and 34 per cent were returned. As a token of thanks for people participating in the mail survey, the city offered an option to enter a draw for three $100 gift certificates for programs or memberships offered at the Sportsplex or Community Centre.
Respondents gave top marks for city trails, its water supply, sewage system and recreation programs. Services with lowest satisfaction ratings were bylaws and enforcement, public washrooms, transportation and traffic flow and snow and ice removal.
People’s favourite thing about living in Campbell River remained easy access to outdoor recreation and being close to the ocean.
All residents who didn’t receive the survey in the mail could answer an equivalent online version, which 137 people completed.
“Monitoring and measuring satisfaction is key to successful service delivery, and these results will help us to consider how best to address the areas where citizens would like more focus,” says Mayor Andy Adams.
The public was also asked how they prefer to find out about what’s going on at City Hall, and the wide majority (78 per cent) of respondents said they preferred to get their updates through articles in the local newspaper.
The overall survey results will help guide council decisions heading into their annual budgeting sessions in early December.