The City has released the results of its first Citizen Survey.
The telephone survey took place over a two-and-a-half-week period earlier this year and included 400 respondents.
The purpose, according to the City, was to measure citizens’ satisfaction with services, assess the types of changes needed, and identify areas for improvement.
For overall quality of life the city rated 6.8 out of 10 and was given a 6.6 for being a place to raise children. As a place to retire, residents registered a ranking of 6.4; citizens over the age of 60 gave the ranking a 7.3.
Residents registered a 6.2 when asked whether they believe the City of Williams Lake is doing a good job; the rating declined to 5.8 in response to the statement: The City of Williams Lake listens to citizens and encourages their involvement in making decisions, and a 5.7 in response to receiving good value for taxes.
Sixty-nine per cent of survey respondents said they would advise the City to keep the same level of services and keep taxes unchanged; 18 per cent responded they would like to see the City improve services and raise taxes.
Thirty-five per cent would like the City to add a program, service or facility and 30 per cent would not like any changes.
Air quality was listed as the most important environmental concern followed by wildfires, water quality and supply.
Thirty-seven per cent of residents felt crime and the safety of citizens is the biggest issue facing the city. Eighteen per cent felt the lack of jobs, and the poor economy is the biggest issue. That was followed by road conditions, affordable housing for low income and seniors and homelessness, urban planning, activities for youth, aging infrastructure, water quality, efficient use of public funds, health care, drug problems, education, air quality, taxes, population decline and lack of recreation, culture, shopping and entertainment.
Among respondents favourite aspects of living in WIlliams Lake were (in declining order): the proximity to wilderness, friendly people, recreation, community size, climate, lifestyle, parks, affordability, community spirit, proximity to services, and the economy.
Thirty two per cent of survey respondents indicated that Williams Lake was a safer place to live than two years ago; 39 per cent said the level of safety had not changed in two years and 25 per cent felt less safe than two years ago.
Beautification received the highest ranking for City services, and street maintenance and snow and ice removal, the lowest.
In response to the survey, Coun. Geoff Bourdon noted that it was good to get feedback from citizens; Coun. Surinderpal Rathor called it an “excellent tool.”