What should we take away from the results of the Oak Bay Community Satisfaction Survey, whose results were released this week?
For many residents, and at least the greater part of those consulted during a telephone survey earlier this fall by NRG Research Group, the take-away is that by and large, Oak Bay is a good place to live.
Goals of the survey included identifying the most important local issues to residents, gauging satisfaction with the overall quality of life and value for tax dollars, and evaluating several specific issues, specifically whether respondents perceive an overpopulation of deer in Oak Bay and residents’ desire for a dog park.
As letters to the Oak Bay News over the past few months have indicated, some residents have concerns about the survey – about the method of contact, for example, and nature of the questions asked. Statistics are also somewhat curious things that can be adapted to a particular argument.
However, a truly random survey should be representational of a community’s opinions.
According to the researchers, “When looking at all these issues taken together, by far the two most pressing issues to Oak Bay residents are sewage treatment or sewer services (24 per cent overall) and more effective deer population control (21 per cent).”
Behind those two are overdensification (15 per cent), infill strategy (10 per cent), planning for roads infrastructure, preserving local greenspace, preserving a sense of community and affordable housing, all at nine per cent.
It would be easy for council to be smug with an unheard of resident satisfaction rating of 99 per cent, but as Mayor Nils Jensen correctly notes, much of the satisfaction comes on the heels of work by much earlier councils.
He also notes that the results indicate where residents are pleased, but also where work needs to be done – where council must roll up its collective sleeves and get to work.