Social issues, transportation and the economy were the three leading top-of-mind community issues for Nelson in Ipsos Reid’s 2012 Citizen Satisfaction Syndicated Survey.
Between May 8 and 17, Ipsos Reid conducted 300 telephone interviews with a randomly selected sample of Nelson residents aged 18 years or older.
The survey — which addresses community issues, quality of life, perceptions of city staff and council satisfaction with city services and communication — found housing and lack or affordable housing, poverty/homelessness and general social issues were at the top of residents’ minds.
“The last poll identified some real gaps in the community as far as employment and the standard of living,” said Mayor John Dooley in response to the survey.
“There really aren’t a lot of solutions to those issues, but we need to have some sort of a growth pattern to continue that work and employment so people can work, live and raise families in our community. A lot of those jobs are going to have to be better paying jobs for people to be able to buy houses and pay the type of rents that are requested.”
Overall Dooley, wasn’t surprised with the responses of the survey and said it reaffirmed the city is “on the right path.”
“Council is on the right track as far as the work we’re doing and all of the good work that is happening in the community,” he said.
The survey asked residents how they would rate the overall quality of life in the City of Nelson today. Ninety-six per cent of those interviewed rated the quality of life very good and good.
The City has recently worked with residents and consultants to create various city policies like the much touted Downtown and Waterfront Sustainable Master Plan and the Path to 2040.
“Council has developed really good plans,” said Dooley. “We outlined some of those projects we have seen in recent years and we have taken them on with good planning.”
The survey also found 15 per cent of those surveyed were very satisfied with municipal operations while 65 per cent were somewhat satisfied with the municipal government, including council and administration as a whole.
Parks, trails and other green spaces were among the city services residents were most happy with; 55 per cent were very satisfied and 39 per cent were somewhat satisfied.
Ipsos Reid conducted a similar survey in 2009, and Dooley said he was not surprised with the results this time around.
“I suppose I would have been surprised if some of the answers said we weren’t doing the right thing around infrastructure or stuff like that because I get the feeling in the community that people are glad we are getting the roads and pipes fixed,” he said.
Despite concerns around increasing taxation, the survey found 68 per cent of those polled found there was good value for their taxes.
In addition to questions around taxation, services, quality of life and community issues, the survey asked residents about how the City of Nelson communicates with the community.
Residents interviewed were asked about what methods would be best for the City of Nelson to communicate information to the public.
Fourty-six per cent of those surveyed responded with the newspaper followed by email at 19 per cent and the City website at 15 per cent.
The cost for the city to conduct the poll was $6,900.