A survey says about a third of Central Saanich residents identify road safety as the most important issue facing the community.
The figure — 34 per cent to be precise — appears in the results of the Community Satisfaction Survey that the municipality had commissioned from Leger which interviewed 580 residents, with 300 answering a phone survey, the rest an online survey. Second on the list of issues facing the community is the desire to keep the municipality’s rural character, followed by improving walk-ability.
Other sections of the report also speak to the community’s desire for improved safety on local roads. Two-thirds of residents agree with the statement that the municipality could do more to help make Central Saanich a more pedestrian-friendly or walkable community. On the flip-side, Central Saanich residents have reported notable decreases in satisfaction with road maintenance and traffic management since 2016.
Seventy-eight per cent of residents reported satisfaction with road maintenance. By 2019, the figure had fallen to 70 per cent. Seventy-five per cent of residents reported satisfaction with traffic management. By 2019, the figure had dropped to 62 per cent.
By way of comparison, policing, the highest rated service in terms of satisfaction, scored 82 per cent in 2016, as well as well 2019. Fire services, as well as water and sewer services recorded the second and third-highest satisfaction ratings with 80 per cent each.
The public also expressed little satisfaction with public transit, with 39 per cent of residents saying they are satisfied, down from 40 per cent in 2016.
The survey also offers some insights into the public’s support for the municipality’s climate change direction.
Almost two out of five residents think Central Saanich should increase resources towards dealing with climate change, while one in three think the amount of resources should stay the same. Just under 30 per cent of residents would like the municipality to explore other revenue sources for funding additional climate change action.
These results appear just after Central Saanich has upped its climate change goals, especially in the area of buildings and transportation.
As for affordable housing — ranked sixth among top issues facing the community — the survey found support for more action. Around 44 per cent of surveyed residents agreed with having more social and affordable housing in their neighbourhood. At the same time, 31 per cent do not support more social and affordable housing units in their neighbourhood with reasons varying.
They include, fear of a changing sociology in the face of greater density and the loss of the municipality’s rural character.
Overall, the survey finds almost all residents rate their overall quality of life as good or very good for reasons such as having a rural vibe/slower pace, low crime and being a nice place to live, and more than four in five residents say they are satisfied with the overall level and quality of services offered by the District.
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