According to the 2022 Citizens survey, an overwhelming majority of Kelowna residents say their quality of life remains high.
The Ipsos survey, presented to council Monday, found 90 per cent of respondents said they feel that way. Yet, the survey also found about 55 per cent of residents said their quality of life has worsened over the past three years.
While COVID-19 may be contributing to some of this year’s lower scores, the survey stated other factors such as affordability, housing, homelessness, traffic, crime, and public safety also play a role.
Quality of life indicators that saw a drop this year, compared to the 2020 survey, are satisfaction with some specific city services, value for tax dollars, and city inclusivity and acceptance.
“So the ones where we’re seeing they’re less satisfied with would be fire services, police, road maintenance, snow removal, public transit, addressing climate change, and city growth management,” said Catherine Knaus, director with Ipsos. Most residents continued to prefer tax increases over service reductions, added Knaus.
Top issues of concern, in order, were homelessness, mental health, addiction and affordability, transportation and traffic flow management, crime and community safety, and municipal government services.
Coun. Luke Stack found good news in the survey.
“The issues that are really highlighted here, the social issues, crime concerns, community safety, those are the issues we’ve been focused on.”
But he also found some bad news.
“I don’t really want to take this report card home and show it to my mother,” added Stack. “I’m just really not that happy about it, because we’re trending the wrong way on a lot of these issues and it’s very frustrating.”
Despite the drops, the survey found satisfaction is still in line with the municipal norm for most services. The next survey will be done in the spring of 2024.