Kelowna’s mayor says he’s not surprised there’s growing concern about safety in his city despite results of Kelowna’s annual Citizens’ Survey that shows 87 per cent of respondents feel Kelowna is a safe community.
“It may be perception but it has to be dealt with,” said Colin Basran Monday after council was presented with the results of the 2018 Citizens’ Survey.
The survey, conducted for the sixth year by polling firm Ipsos Public Affairs, showed social issues are top of mind for residents, specifically poverty and homelessness.
And those two issues, along with drugs, are influencing a growing feeling that safely is not as strong as it once was in the city.
The 87 per cent who see Kelowna as a safe community is down seven per cent since 2015, said Catherine Knaus, director of Ipsos Public Affairs.
Basran said the city has started to address a number of social issues, including homelessness with its Journey Home initiative, public safety with its appointment of, and report last month from, the Kelowna’s former top cop Bill McKinnon and strides have been made in terms of more social housing and approvals for more rental housing construction.
While social issues topped the list of concerns in this years survey, transportation came in second at 43 per cent. Traffic congestion and flow were the main concerns in that area, issues that topped the list in previous years.
Overall, the survey points to a city population that appears to be generally satisfied with how the city is running and being managed.
Ninety-four per cent said they feel quality of life in Kelowna is either good or very good, 79 per cent feel they receive value for money when it comes to use of their tax dollars by city hall and 87 per cent are satisfied with the level of service they get from the city.
But it was not all good news. The percentage of respondents who said thy feel their quality of life in Kelowna has worsened in the last few years rose to 36 percent in the latest survey, up from 21 per cent last year.
Basran said while the survey is useful and will help council as it sets its priorities for the next four years of it term, he felt there were no surprises from this year’s survey’s findings.
He said he heard many of the issues of concern expressed during the recent civic election campaign.
Th survey was conducted in November with 580 people contacted by phone. The results are considered accurate to plus or minus 5.7 per cent 19 times out of 20, said Knaus.