The District of West Vancouver conducts an extensive Community Survey every three years.
The research objectives of this survey are:
- determining residents’ level of satisfaction with municipal taxes and services;
- determining the desired balance between tax increases, reduced service and/or user fees;
- gathering opinions and attitudes about District projects and local issues.
Synovate (formerly “MarkTrend Research Inc.”) was commissioned to conduct the above mentioned surveys since 1991, including this year’s Community Survey for the District of West Vancouver. This report contains the detailed findings from this most recent study and, where applicable, compares findings to historical data as far back as 1983.
Some highlights of the report:
- The majority of West Vancouver residents feel the community offers a high quality of life, is a good place to raise a family and is a good place to retire.
- Consistent with trends dating back to 2001, the large majority of West Vancouver residents say they are very to somewhat satisfied overall with municipal services.
- Municipal services that residents tend to recognize (i.e. they are the most satisfied with) are library services (mentioned by 45%, fire and rescue services (40%) and garbage collection (37%).
- Unchanged from historical trends, 86% of West Vancouver homeowners currently feel they get good value for the municipal share of their property taxes
The survey, conducted by an independent company in October 2010, analyzed written responses from 889 randomly-selected households.
Ninety-nine percent of respondents rank their quality of life in West Vancouver “very good” to “somewhat good”. Similar rankings arise “as a place to raise a family” (98%), and “as a place to retire” (94%).
Though citizens greatly value the services they receive, (55% indicate a willingness to pay higher taxes to retain them), they are equally open-minded that this service level could be achieved through cost reduction strategies such as contracting out or privatizing services.
Satisfaction with District services remains high, with the library, fire and rescue, parks and trails, and garbage collection earning particularly high ratings from residents
West Vancouver conducts a survey of residents every three years. A number of key questions are useful in determining trends over time. Other questions gather feedback on more topical issues of the day.
The 2013 Community Survey indicates that over 90 per cent of respondents reported being very or somewhat satisfied with the municipal services they receive. The results also demonstrate that perceptions have declined slightly from previous surveys with respect to quality of life and West Vancouver being a good place to raise a family. Overall, the generally positive results are in line with previous surveys.
Surveyors recruited a thousand West Vancouver residents from representative sample groups and 744 completed surveys were received.
The District services with the highest rates of satisfaction (over 90 per cent) include:
- library services
- fire and rescue services
- parks and trails
- arts/cultural programs and facilities
- recreational programs, services and facilities
- police services
- water, sewer and drains
Satisfaction levels dropped for garbage collection (from 95 per cent in 2010 to 79 per cent in 2013), likely as a result of the recent schedule changes to garbage pick-up every other week, and transit services (from 88 per cent in 2010 to 82 per cent in 2013).
Despite being increasingly critical of the value they receive for their property taxes, 40 per cent of respondents would prefer a tax increase to maintain services, while 25 per cent would support tax increases only if they translate to more services and/or infrastructure renewal.
Another notable result is support outweighing opposition by more than 2:1 for proposed coach houses. The District’s efforts for community engagement on projects and initiatives didn’t score particularly high; 23 per cent give a ‘very good’ rating and 54 per cent awarded the District a ‘somewhat good’ rating for its public engagement.
The survey also indicates an age division in how residents stay informed. Older residents (65 years and up) rely more heavily on news media, mailed publications and newspaper ads. Younger residents also use these resources but rely more heavily on the Leisure Guide, website and social media platforms.
In October 2011, the North Shore Congress, a forum of elected and appointed public officials, endorsed the ‘Child and Family Friendly Community Charter’. In order to examine the perceptions of the degree to which the North Shore was experienced as ‘child and family friendly’, it was decided that community feedback was needed. From January to March 2013, service providers and parents were invited to provide feedback on their perceptions of ‘child and family friendliness’ on the North Shore as it relates to children ages 0–12. Two separate community consultation processes were held, and reports were prepared to offer four perspectives: parent perspectives from the District of West Vancouver, City of North Vancouver, and from the District of North Vancouver, respectively; and a combined report showing perspectives of all the service providers and parents who participated in the survey.
The District Of West Vancouver wished to gain insight into households’ usage of West Vancouver’s parks, including the types of outdoor activities in which they participate.
The specific objectives of the tracking survey are to:
- Determine the types of outdoor recreation activities households participated in over the past year
- Determine the reasons for visiting various types of West Vancouver parks
- Understand the reasons for not visiting West Vancouver parks
- Measure the usage and frequency of visiting various types of parks
- Measure usage (incidence & type of usage) of the Upper Lands
- Elicit suggestions for changes and improvements that could be made to West Vancouver parks to enhance residents’ enjoyment of parks and open spaces
- Determine what changes, if any, have occurred in terms of park usage and activity participation
- Opinions on the adequacy of West Vancouver parks and recreational facilities
- Satisfaction with maintenance and upkeep of parks and related areas
- Support for various options to raise funds for park improvements
The District intends to utilize the information gathered from the research study to guide the development of a parks master plan. This report presents the findings from the 2011 study and where possible, compares current findings against 2002 and 2006.