Tuesday, February 24, 2015
The 2015 Citizen Survey results are in! According to the results of the survey conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights, 87 per cent of residents are happy with their municipal government. The results were consistent across gender, income and age and maintained the high levels of satisfaction achieved in 2013. The town conducts a survey every two years to track overall citizen satisfaction with town performance, identify merging issues, and help set strategic priories for the future.
“Council’s strategic priorities and main areas of focus are in line with what matters most to Oakville residents,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “This year’s Citizen Survey confirms that residents are pleased with the work being done by Town Council and staff to provide cost effective programs and services that they rely on year after year and that make Oakville so livable.”
During his presentation to Council, Craig Worden, executive vice-president of Public Affairs for Pollara Strategic Insights noted that the results were amongst the highest government ratings that Pollara has seen. “Oakville performs high on satisfaction ratings overall, as well as on individual programs and services delivered to the community. Residents are clearly satisfied that the town is on the right track in addressing and managing the local issues that they care most about.”
Residents were asked to rate specific services provided by the town as well as key aspects of the town such as the appearance of the community. Overall satisfaction with key town aspects was 90 per cent, while overall satisfaction with town services was slightly lower at 85 per cent. The highest levels of satisfaction were with feeling of belonging and being safe (95 per cent), parks and green spaces (94 per cent) and public library services (90 per cent), while provision of municipal parking (70 per cent) and public transit (52 per cent, down 8 per cent from 2013) were lowest rated scores. Winter road maintenance saw the largest improvement since 2013, rising six points.
“Public transit is traditionally one of the lowest rated services in municipal surveys,” noted Worden. “Improving transit satisfaction is a common challenge for municipalities, as they have to balance the competing demands of users and non-users of this service.”
Residents clearly identified that the biggest challenge facing the Oakville community was controlling growth. Urban sprawl/rapid development was identified by residents as the most important issue facing Oakville today, although this was mentioned by only 13 per cent of respondents, and has continued to drop from 30 per cent in 2007. However, concern with traffic has bounced back to match 2007 levels of 12 per cent so it is not surprising that controlling the rate and type of growth was ranked as the most important policy priority for the town.
“Controlling growth will continue to be a priority for Council,” Mayor Burton said. “Council will ensure we have the right tools available to control where, and how, growth can occur in Oakville. This is done through the development of our recent inZone comprehensive zoning by-law and by updating our Livable Oakville official plan to ensure any new concerns are incorporated.”
Other significant results show that online communications continue to be of growing importance. Seventy-four per cent of respondents now identify oakville.ca as their preferred way to access town information, up 10 per cent in two years, and 76 per cent of respondents would prefer to interact with the town through online tools. This support will likely change the way the town conducts elections in the future, as the town seeks new ways to engage votes and increase voter turnout. Sixty-four per cent of survey respondents who did not vote in the last election said they would be more likely to vote if they could vote online.
The 20-minute telephone survey took place in January and a randomly-selected, representative sample of 808 residents responded to questions on service satisfaction, quality of life issues and priorities for action. This is the seventh citizen survey Oakville has conducted. The first town-wide citizen survey was conducted in 2001, followed by 2004, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013. Findings are accurate to +/- 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
Current and past survey results are available on the Citizen Surveys page.