Rick Goffic

Rick Goffic

Survey says … Nanaimo residents fairly happy with Harbour City

NANAIMO – Results of 2013 Citizen Satisfaction Survey show people give city top marks for quality of life and services.

Nanaimo residents gave the Harbour City top marks for quality of life in a new citizen satisfaction survey.

A recently released Ipsos Reid Citizen Satisfaction Survey reports 93 per cent of people are happy with the quality of life, while another 91 per cent are satisfied with city services. Of the 300 interviewed, more than half thought they received fairly good value of their taxes and 66 per cent were OK with the way their municipal government runs.

Top issues for people included the Colliery dams, growth and development and municipal government spending.

While the report addresses some public views on city operations, it doesn’t say just how many people are unhappy with council and administration or how a minimal appetite for information could affect different report categories.

Mayor John Ruttan says he is concerned with the number of people – about 40 per cent – who either say they have no information needs or don’t know what their needs are. Overall, however, the results seem to show opinions are generally unchanged, he said.

“When you look at the quality of life we enjoy and the services available to the community – sports facilities, ice centre … waterfront walkway – I think there is so much there,” he said.

But he adds that there are times when a lot of what the city has accomplished has been overshadowed by the challenges it faces, like the fate of the Colliery dams.  Those challenges are ones the city has to work to move past, he said.

The satisfaction survey is performed each year for the City of Nanaimo to gauge residents’ opinions on how well their city is functioning. City watcher Ron Bolin isn’t surprised the results lean to the positive. Not too many people are informed about what’s happening at city hall and wouldn’t tend to say they are dissatisfied unless they were put out on an issue at the moment, he said.

“Sure it tells you people are not … totally outraged  and disgusted,” he said. “[But] no matter how good things are, they can always be better.”

Bolin believes the city can do more to improve operations, including better transparency. The city has seen the departure of three top-level employees in the last year and there has been “nary a word from the city about it,” he said.

The annual survey randomly selected Nanaimo residents over the age of 18 and carries an accuracy within 5.7 percentage points.