CITY SURVEY - According to the newly-released 2017 Citizen Satisfaction Survey, 97% of residents asked say their quality of life in the City is good or very good. Full survey results are available at www.reddeer.ca. Express file photo

2017 Red Deer Citizen Satisfaction Survey results released

Transportation and crime identified as priority issues the City should address over the next year

According to the newly-released 2017 Citizen Satisfaction Survey, 97% of Red Deer residents asked say their quality of life is good or very good with 69% saying their quality of life has improved or stayed the same in the past three years.

The survey was completed this past May.

“This survey gives us the opportunity to gauge our citizens’ satisfaction and to compare results from year to year,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “We have participated in this survey since 2006, so we have over a decade of comparable data for us to identify trends in terms of the direction of our City and of operations.

“And even though we’ve had very consistent rankings over the past, I don’t think we can ever take that for granted as a community.”

Roads were identified as the highest priority for residents in terms of infrastructure (82%), followed by recreation facilities (67%), water treatment facilities (54%), wastewater treatment facilities (41%) and the transit system (38%).

Overall, 87% of residents said they were satisfied with how Red Deer is run.

“It’s one tool that we use to measure whether or not we are meeting the expectations that our citizens are identifying. And it also identifies for us areas that we need to focus on and potentially make improvements on, allowing our council and administration to be responsive to the needs and priorities in the representation of our residents.

“Our citizens’ top-of-mind priorities were, and will continue to be addressed by City council during budget deliberations, including a focus on community safety in our downtown and our community as a whole and an investment in transportation improvements,” said Veer.

Meanwhile, 92% of respondents were satisfied with the overall level of City services, while 80% felt they received good or very good value for their tax dollars.

In terms of tracking top of mind community issues, the survey showed that crime concerns edged up from 28% in July of 2016 to 41% this year.

In other areas, when asked why their quality of life had improved, 18% of respondents pointed to economic development/more local business.

When asked why their quality of life has worsened, 50% pointed to crime/public safety/policing and 19% said unemployment/loss of jobs/low wages were the reason.

“The top area of concern in the community is crime – although the police received a very favourable ranking in terms of how the community is satisfied with police service, crime is still the major concern here followed by transportation which has been going down as a concern, and other municipal government services,” said City Manager Craig Curtis.

According to a release, when asked about the change in quality of life in the past three years, 20% of respondents said things had improved, attributing more local business, improved roads, and generally enjoying life in Red Deer as reasons for the increase.

Ultimately, Curtis noted that, “This is council and administration’s report card from the community.

“We also of course compare the results from over the years to identify trends and better understand how attitudes and priorities have changed,” he explained. “They do change, and often change in accordance with how the economy is progressing,” he said.

Full results of the survey are available at www.reddeer.ca.