The results are in and it looks like many residents in Colwood are satisfied with the overall quality of life, according to the results of a recent survey.
The Colwood Citizen Survey shows the average rating for overall quality of life in the municipality is 8 out of 10, up from 7.5 out of 10 in the previous citizen satisfaction survey conducted in 2015/16. Colwood as a place to raise children received an average rating of 8.1, up from 7.6, and Colwood as a place to retire rated 7.9 up from 7.4.
More residents also feel the City is doing a good job, that they receive good value for the municipal taxes they pay, and that the City listens to its citizens and encourages their involvement in council decision making, with a 6.7, 6.2 and 6.2 rating, respectively. According to the survey, transportation and traffic flow is the most important issue facing the municipality, followed by development and urban planning and the number of unfinished projects.
Mayor Carol Hamilton said she wasn’t surprised by the results and hopes Colwood’s neighbourly feeling continues as the municipality expands.
“Yes, we’re seeing some changes. I want those changes to happen in a way that keeps the home feel,” she said. “It’s nice to have the check back to see if we’re trending on the upside or the downside … It is just another way for us to reach out and understand, where do we have to put some attention? Where are we doing okay?”
As part of the survey, researchers called 400 residents last month, asking them a number of questions related to life in the municipality, such as Colwood as a place for young adults to learn, work, play, live and as a place to retire. They also asked about the most important issues facing the municipality and how satisfied residents are with the services and amenities offered.
But there is room for improvement.Sidewalks received the lowest rating at 5.8, followed by the issues of affordable housing options and land use planning. Customer service by City employees also dropped compared to 2015/16.
Hamilton said the City has been proactive in engaging with residents and addressing their concerns, but when it comes to sidewalks admits it’s playing a bit of catch up.
“The bulk of Colwood was built when it first took off in the late ’60s into the ’70s. It was all done when there wasn’t a lot of organization and they failed to acquire those basic amenities like sidewalks. They allowed flat roads, ditches and culverts because that was affordable in those days,” said Hamilton, adding recently the municipality has surfaced the trail near Painter Road so Royal Bay students can walk safely to school and is working on installing sidewalks on Metchosin Road.
She also noted any new developments include sidewalk improvements or contributions. “[Residents are] looking for those basics of the safety of sidewalks, bike lanes and trails. Yes, we’re working on it, but it’s a very expensive retrofit.”
Survey results will also be used to inform the city’s 2018 strategic planning and budgeting process.