The Town of Qualicum Beach is looking to a hybrid of two options for the Quality of Life survey.
The town’s Official Community Plan review is in its third stage, gearing up for the release of the Quality of Life Survey. Previously, the survey has gone out to every household in town for residents’ feedback on key policy issues. The survey also gives the town the tools to gauge various aspects of community life.
At Monday’s council meeting, planning director Luke Sales brought forward to council two options for the 2017 survey.
The first option presented was a mail and telephone survey which Sales said was typical of the last survey in 2010. The survey would be mailed out to each household for one person to fill out, with the option to complete the survey online at an additional cost. The mailed survey would be supplemented by a telephone survey of about 200 randomly selected residents. The estimated budget for this option is $23,700.
The second option was a hybrid survey which Sales said didn’t exist before. A postcard with a unique code would be mailed to each household and business, with an invitation to complete an online version of the survey. Paper surveys would also be made available for pick-up and could be distributed at key locations and residents’ associations. The online survey would be supplemented by a phone survey of 200 randomly selected residents. The estimated budget for the option is $21,700.
“There are some unique advantages to this,” Sales said. “A person and their spouse may not agree on all policy issues, this — for the first time — gives two voices in every house.”
Coun. Barry Avis, while acknowledging the residents’ great involvement in town, said he was concerned that an online survey would limit the amount of people taking the survey.
“I do feel there are probably a lot of people in town who don’t have internet, perhaps don’t use computers, and also are older,” Avis said. “If you say we’re not going to send you a survey, we’re going to send you a postcard and we want you to come over to the town hall and pick up the survey, I think we might be doing ourselves a tremendous disservice.”
Avis suggested a compromise between the two options.
Coun. Anne Skipsey said she liked the idea of a compromise because the online survey would allow people living outside of the town boundaries to fill it out.
“I think it’s important that we hear the voices that give that input from families as well because this is their community,” she said. “They work here, their kids go to school here, they shop here, but they may not live within the town boundaries but this is certainly their community.”
CAO Daniel Sailland said with option two, the town is looking at a slightly different group.
“If we mail out to people who live here, currently, I think the answers we’re going to get in terms of their desire for housing are very different from somebody who currently does not have a house in Qualicum Beach and we want to be able to identify those differences,” said Sailland, referring to discussions on the lack of family housing at the last council meeting.
Council unanimously approved a hybrid survey of options one and two that captured the discussion.
Mayor Teunis Westbroek also said council is not holding staff to a budget yet, since staff will be creating a new hybrid for the survey.