Homelessness and affordability raised as major concerns in CVRD survey

But most CVRD residents content with quality of life

The vast majority of residents in the Cowichan Valley Regional District feel their overall quality of life in their local area is high.

According to the CVRD’s latest community satisfaction survey, conducted over a four-week period last fall, 94 per cent of participating residents indicated that their quality of life is either good (46 per cent) or very good (48 per cent).

The survey also found that district residents are fairly satisfied with many of the services offered by the CVRD, with 75 per cent satisfied with parks and trails, 67 per cent satisfied with recycling and garbage drop-off depots and 63 per cent are satisfied with the district’s recreation facilities and programming.

However, the survey indicated that residents feel that the Cowichan Valley does face some serious issues.

The top single issue residents feel should receive the greatest attention is homelessness (15 per cent).

Homelessness has risen significantly in importance since the last satisfaction survey was held in 2016, when it was just four per cent, and is the dominant issue for residents in the CVRD’s east and central areas, where it garnered 24 per cent in the 2019 survey.

Affordability in the CVRD has also risen as a top concern, to 11 per cent from five per cent in 2016, as has climate change, which has risen from one per cent to six per cent, while drinking water has declined as a concern, from 11 per cent in 2016 to just four per cent in 2019.

The community satisfaction survey is the third in the district since 2011.

Over four weeks in November, Leger Marketing, the largest Canadian-owned polling and market research firm in the country, asked 600 random residents by phone, online or through a unique link sent by email, about their quality of life, and the delivery of public services and programs in the CVRD.

According to a staff report, the survey results will be invaluable to elected officials and district staff over the next 36 months to consider as they complete a corporate strategic plan, departmental and divisional work plans, and in making improvements to day-to-day operations and service delivery.

“We always appreciate learning where our organization is doing well and where we need improvement, and this survey provides us with comprehensive feedback from our communities to help us,” said Aaron Stone, chairman of the CVRD.

“We expanded the survey this year in several ways, one of them being to better understand the reasons for resident dissatisfaction, and I’m confident the CVRD’s board and staff will make excellent use of this data as we continue to improve.”

In regards to regional parks and trails and what the CVRD could do to enhance people’s enjoyment of them, 81 per cent of the survey’s respondents said protecting species and the natural environment are the top priorities, followed by repairing and maintaining the existing facilities, at 74 per cent.

As for public transit, the survey found that 82 per cent of residents have not used any of the local public transit services in the past six months, with the main reason cited that people have their own vehicles.

Of those that use transit, 48 per cent have indicated they are satisfied with the service, while 25 per cent said they were not satisfied.

Using a transit service to key destinations in Nanaimo would be considered by just 20 per cent of the survey respondents, while 66 per cent said they would not consider using this type of service.

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