Penticton gathering opinions from residents

The City of Penticton has launched their citizen survey for 2013

For the second year in a row, Penticton residents are getting an opportunity to tell city hall how they think the city should be run.

To be sure, most residents don’t wait for a special invitation to tell the municipal government what they think, but this opportunity is in the form of the second annual citizen satisfaction survey.

Over the next two weeks the city has contracted a survey company to phone 400 random residents and ask them questions relating to quality of life, satisfaction with city services, preferred communications channels and what they would advise the city do when facing budget demands.

The questions on the 2013 survey will be similar to last year, according to communications officer Simone Blais.

“There are a few additions, nothing too dramatic,” said Blais.

“Questions about the waterfront, for example, were less of a priority this time around and there are some additions with respect to downtown revitalization.

“I think we are generally getting a sense of what the community would like to see.”

It was important to keep the surveys similar, Blais said, so they would be able to make comparisons to the baseline created last year.

“This year will be interesting,” she said.

“It is the first year we are going to have comparative data.

“So if we see improvements or areas that need improvement, that is something we are really curious about.”

Residents who are not contacted by phone can also fill out the survey online at www.surveymk.com/s/Penticton_2013 until Sept. 23.

Blais said Discovery Research, the company contracted to do the survey in 2012, was surprised that 477 people were willing to fill out the online survey.

“Our community seems to take well to online initiatives. “I am hoping they still come out and let us know what they think,” said Blais, who is hoping for an even larger online sample this year.

The survey is a valuable tool, especially with the 2014 budget deliberations coming up this fall, according to Blais.

Results of the survey are used by city staff and council to determine community priorities, and whether a project has wide backing or is only supported by a few residents.

“This survey is part of the City of Penticton’s continuing effort to seek input from the public in pursuit of service excellence,” said deputy mayor Wes Hopkin.

“Understanding how the City of Penticton is serving its residents helps the organization plan and budget appropriately.”

The full report from last year’s survey, including the online survey results, is available on the City of Penticton’s website, www.penticton.ca, by searching “2012 Penticton Citizen Survey.”