Victoria residents a happy lot, survey says

Living in Victoria should make you happy. At least, it should according a new poll commissioned by the City.

Living in Victoria should make you happy. At least, it should according a new poll commissioned by the City.

Results of the 2010 citizen survey boasts 97 per cent of residents surveyed feel their quality of life is good or very good — and most welcomed tax increases.

The results, by pollster Ipsos Reid, were presented to Victoria city council last week.

This is the first year the biannual surveys were conducted by telephone and the first year the City included businesses in its survey.

Citizens are almost as satisfied with their city services as with life in general. Ninety-two per cent are very or somewhat satisfied with the level and quality of city services.

What’s more, a healthy majority of citizens are willing to pay more to either maintain or enhance these services.

While provincewide 55 per cent of survey respondents favoured a tax increase, in Victoria the percentage is 64 per cent.

A slightly bigger proportion also said they’d like to see the City take a more active role in addressing social issues.

The finding raised concerns with city councillors.

Increased taxes are fine for families with some financial leeway, but Victoria is the poorest jurisdiction in the region, said Coun. Lynn Hunter.

She speculated that most people pinpointed the City as the body most effective in addressing social issues because they consider the provincial and federal governments as abandoning their responsibilities in this area.

Coun. Philippe Lucas, however, disagreed. His downtown shop was broken into recently. The crime was poverty related, he said.

Lucas said he’s glad to see the call to address social issues, because police alone can’t address this type of crime.

Safety in downtown Victoria marked a notable exception to the general optimism of the survey.

Forty-two per cent of citizens and 61 per cent of business managers disagreed that the downtown is safe at night.

Businesses in general showed less favourable responses to satisfaction questions than residents.

Seventy-three per cent strongly or somewhat agree with city rules and regulations. Seven per cent of businesses plan to close or shut down in the next five years. Another seven per cent plan to downsize, and eight per cent plan to relocate outside Victoria.

The Ipsos Reid telephone survey, conducted in October, reached 600 citizens aged at least 18, and reached 300 business managers.

Results are accurate to within +/- 5.7 percentage points for the citizen survey, and +/-4.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20 for the business survey.