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LETTER: Oak Bay’s secondary suite survey is flawed

The District of Oak Bay has published a secondary suite survey requesting input. The quality of the survey is poor and the apparent unsatisfactory oversight of the survey process is disheartening.

Taxpayers’ money is being spent on the survey and it should provide some reliable results going forward. But it won’t.

Right out of the gate the survey process is faulty. There is no control over who can complete the survey. The survey is anonymous and can be submitted online. Anyone in the world can submit a survey response, and not be honest about where they live. There is no control over the number of times that a person can complete the survey. A person can submit an unlimited number of responses. The uncontrolled survey process will lead to unreliable results.

Presumably, every question is important and intended to produce precise answers.

However, question 1 asks the respondent where they live and gives options describing general areas but there is no description or map to outline the boundaries of each area.

Question 2 asks people for their experience with suites. It gives respondents three specific options of the kind of residence where they live and two other general options: none of the above, and other. The survey should have given only one option: either none of the above, or other.

The survey fails to ask respondents whether they are in favour of the legalization of suites. The only way a respondent can voice their opposition to them is in the final general question which allows a further comment about suites.

The survey fails to ask what kind of residence the respondent lives in. The residents of Oak Bay who have the most to lose and will be hurt the most by the legalization of secondary suites in single-family home neighborhoods are the owners and families of the homes in those neighborhoods. They have the largest stake in the outcome. A critical part of the survey process should have been the determination of the kind of residence that a respondent lives in so that our municipal government knows what single-family homeowners think about legalizing suites.

Our municipal government is responsible for overseeing any survey that is published. I am disappointed with the secondary suite survey and the unsatisfactory oversight that has been apparently given this matter.

Bruce Filan

Oak Bay

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