Roads, taxation 'top of mind' concerns
Coquitlam residents are most concerned about how they get around the city, according to a citizen survey released this week by Ipsos Reid.
At Monday's city council meeting, Catherine Knaus, an associate vice-president with the research company, unveiled the results of the telephone poll taken of 602 participants in April, which showed transportation and transit-related issues as being "top of mind" for Coquitlam residents.
Specifically, nearly half of respondents noted the city's lack of public transit, traffic congestion, road conditions and the Evergreen Line as major problems for moving around.
A total of 89% of participants who cited transportation said the roads need to be repaved while 86% said promoting public transit services should be a city priority.
Respondents put the expansion of bike facilities at the bottom of the list — a point Coun. Terry O'Neill noted as being contrary to the city's Strategic Transportation Plan, which calls for pedestrian and cycling improvements in an effort to reduce the city's carbon footprint.
Transportation has ranked at the top of the list for the past decade, since city hall subscribed to the Ipsos Reid municipal survey.
Other big issues facing the city include taxation and crime, the latter showing a dramatic drop in residents' perceptions since 2003. Then, 21% of residents commented on crime as being a problem while 10% of respondents today say crime is a "top of mind" concern.
Among the biggest crime and personal safety issues are: break and enter/property theft; drugs; auto theft; theft; vandalism; gang violence; grow ops; homelessness; and robbery.
Meanwhile, 96% of respondents rated their quality of life in Coquitlam as being very good or good — a three-point drop from last year. Asked why their quality of life has improved, they noted the number of recreational facilities; improved transportation/roads; and environmental awareness.
And those who said their quality of life had worsened pointed to the high density; traffic/traffic congestion; and development/increased growth.
The 2012 poll also offered the following nuggets:
• On satisfaction with city services, respondents listed public works (98%); fire services (96%); parks (96%); police services (92%); and sports fields (92%). Road maintenance was at the bottom (76%).
• On whether the city should cut spending or raise property taxes to balance the books, respondents were split (43% each).
• On communication methods, respondents said the newspaper was their best source for city information (32%) followed by email (24%), mail (23%) and city website (19%).
The survey results will be used as part of the city's planning and budgeting processes.