Lucky few get to tell West Kelowna council how they feel

Annual citizen's survey will be distributed to 1,000 randomly selected property owners in the district.

West Kelowna is distributing its annual citizen's survey to 1

West Kelowna council wants to hear what 1,000 randomly selected property owners in the district think.

Council has directed district staff to distribute the 2015 Citizens’ Survey to the randomly-selected property owners, with the deadline for return being May 29.

But while the annual survey is usually distributed with little fanfare, this year it did not receive the usual rubber stamp of approval.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, Coun. Rosalind Neis questioned why the district was spending money on a survey, she feels council pays little attention to.

“It’s been my experience that the results (of the survey) have no bearing on council’s decisions,” said Neis. “It’s a waste of time because we don’t follow it when making our strategic provisons.”

But other councillors defended the survey, saying it is important.

Coun. Duane Ophus said it’s important to gather input from many sources, especially district property owners.

But, he added, that does mean council will always go with with one group’s particular choice when setting strategic priorities.

Coun. Rick de Jong also defended the annual citizen’s survey calling it a useful tool. However he did days that responses to some vaguely-worded questions have to be taken “with a grain of salt.”

This will be the eighth survey conducted by the District since its inception in 2007 and it is the only anonymous, statistically-accurate polling of West Kelowna citizens.

The survey is prepared, compiled and analyzed in-house by the district and costs approximately $3,000 for printing and mailing. There is usually about a 30 per cent return of thew 1,000 survey’s mailed out.

Mayor Doug Findlater said he feels council does its best to use the data collected in each survey as a guide for council priorities. But he, added, council is often constrained by the money it has available for projects.

This year’s 37-question survey includes questions about quality of life in the district, rating the performance of elected officials, awareness of strategic priorities, housing, recreation, service levels, programs, transit, taxes and communication.