Results of a public survey showing crime is top of mind among Saanich residents are preliminary and probably skewed, says Mayor Frank Leonard.
Saanich recently posted the results of a five-question, online survey of 287 residents conducted in October and November last year.
When residents were asked what types of information they want to receive from Saanich, crime facts and prevention tips topped the list at 12.3 per cent.
The municipality was limited in how it directed people to the survey, relying heavily on Leonard’s own Facebook page, as well as the Saanich police and fire departments and members of Saanich Block Watch.
“We suspect it’s skewed a bit because, not so much me, but Saanich police and fire who promoted it got a fairly high response around crime and safety,” Leonard said.
“All the block watch people were also encouraged to participate.”
Saanich staff are currently widening the net, taking the survey to both the University of Victoria and Camosun College in the hope of attracting a different demographic, he said.
“We’ll do a couple of other things as well, just to try to solicit responses — again not scientific,” Leonard said.
“The final phase will be a random sample survey done later this month. Then they’ll compare the results of that to what we’ve solicited in a non-scientific way with the same five questions.”
The initial results show that, aside from crime, residents most want to hear about development and subdivision issues (9.1 per cent); engineering and public works projects (7.8 per cent); transportation changes (5.3 per cent); planning and land use issues (5.2 per cent); events, activities and recreation offerings (4.6 per cent); environmental issues (4.4 per cent); budgets and expenditures (4.3 per cent); taxation (4.1 per cent); and emergency and safety information (3.7 per cent).
And while a combined 41.4 per cent think it is very important (2.6 per cent) or important (38.8 per cent) for Saanich to solicit input on municipal initiatives, programs and services, a surprising 58.6 per cent of respondents said it’s not important or not at all important to be asked what they think.
The issues that residents most want to be engaged on are: traffic and transportation (9.8 per cent); development, subdivision and rezoning notices (8.9 per cent); environmental issues (8.4 per cent); engineering and public works projects (7.5 per cent); planning and land use (6.9 per cent); parks and trails (6.2 per cent); emergency and safety information (4.6 per cent); crime facts and crime prevention (4.3 per cent); events, activities and recreation programs (4.1 per cent) and taxation (3.9 per cent).
The surveys are part of development of a public participation policy and framework.
“We just want to get some feedback on what people are looking to us to provide, how they want to get information from us and how we communicate on public process in the future,” Leonard said.
© Copyright 2013