Respondents to a recent City of Abbotsford survey gave high marks to the city’s delivery of services and to its natural amenities, while indicating they weren’t so keen about the work of public officials or the transit system.
Results from the city’s Quality of Life Survey were released at the executive meeting of council on Monday (Feb. 8).
A random sample of 501 people were surveyed by phone from Oct. 14 to Nov. 2, 2020, and through an online survey that was available on the city website.
The city’s first Quality of Life Survey was done in 2018, and it is being conducted every two years. It looks at areas such as residents’ quality of life, their feelings of belonging, their experiences living in Abbotsford, and their satisfaction with local amenities.
Consultant Kent Waugh told council that the survey can help council gauge how residents are feeling about their life and their connection to the community.
Eighty-seven per cent of respondents rated their overall satisfaction with life – on a scale of zero to 10, with 10 being the highest – as a six or higher, and 80 per cent said they are optimistic about the future.
Seventy-five per cent said they were in agreement or strong agreement that the City of Abbotsford is doing a good job delivering services, while only 40 per cent agreed that “public officials in Abbotsford pay attention to what residents think.”
When asked about their experiences living in Abbotsford, 91 per cent indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with “opportunities to enjoy nature,” followed by 81 per cent for “quality of exercise” and 74 per cent for personal safety.
However, only half of the respondents said they were satisfied with public officials in Abbotsford.
A total of 90 per cent of those surveyed said Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service is doing a good job for the city, followed by 82 per cent for policing and 77 per cent each for waste collection and environmental management.
Only 39 per cent gave kudos to the transit system, but Waugh said it’s typical for most communities to have a low ranking in that area.
The survey also indicated that 59 per cent have a “somewhat strong” or “very strong” feeling of belonging.
“The City of Abbotsford is doing really well,” Waugh said about the overall results.
Mayor Henry Braun said he was “pleasantly surprised” with the mostly positive results of the survey, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, but that the city needs to pay attention to the areas in which it can do better.
“We did want to know the good, the bad and the ugly so that we can implement some things that will change and produce a better quality of life for our residents because we are here to serve our community and all of us. And by having the data and information in front us we can actually chart a course for the future,” he said.
Coun. Ross Siemens said the information can help the city “capture emerging trends” before they become an issue.
Coun. Sandy Blue said she was most encouraged by how people responded to their feelings of belonging.
“When people belong … they volunteer and they donate and they really do a lot to help make their community even better than it is,” she said.
The city says the survey represents the population of the City of Abbotsford with a margin of error of +/-4.29 per cent, 95 times out of 100.