The Revelstoke Community Survey in a snapshot
By Cindy Pearce. Part six of an ongoing series exploring Revelstoke’s Integrated Community Sustainability Plan.
Almost 800 Revelstoke and area residents and non-resident property owners completed the 2012 Community survey – 50 per cent more than responded to the survey the last time it was done in 2007. Susan Knight was the winner of the prize draw.
The project team thanks Susan and others for making time to share their views with the community.
A sample of some of the survey responses follows. We will post the survey results and the almost 200 pages of comments on the project website (see link below) in the next week.
Proud, satisfied and optimistic
The majority of survey respondents are proud of Revelstoke (72 per cent), satisfied with Revelstoke as a place to live (89 per cent very or somewhat satisfied), and optimistic about the future of our community (91 per cent). These results are very similar to the 2007 responses.
Electronically connected, active, healthy households
Almost 100 per cent of survey respondents have access to a computer with high speed internet at home, and 94 per cent own smartphones. An amazing 50 per cent of respondents walk or bike to work in the summer, and a hardy 30 per cent continue these healthy choices into the winter. The majority of respondents (72 per cent) describe the general well-being of the people in their households as stable, with 22 per cent improving – which has been consistent since 2001.
A friendly community of involved volunteers
‘Beautiful,’ ‘friendly’ and ‘community’ were the most common words respondents used to explain to other people what is most important to them about living in Revelstoke. There are many community organizations for residents to be involved in. Seventy-seven percent of survey respondents are members of these organizations, and 65 per cent volunteer. This level of volunteerism has continued since the 2001 survey.
The environment is important
As in past surveys, 2012 survey respondents feel the condition of the natural environment around the community is important to our quality of life (85 per cent very important; 14 per cent somewhat important). Respondents ranked the five most important environmental conditions that need attention as: recycling/composting, quality drinking water, energy conservation/renewable sources, sustainable forestry practices and local food security. With the exception of air quality, which ranked second, this is consistent with the 2007 priorities.
Mixed views on our economy
Views are split on the state of our economy – less than 10 per cent see Revelstoke’s current economy as growing, with the remaining respondents equally split between the current economy being stable and declining. Respondents identified tourism/hospitality, education/training, value-added forestry and agriculture/local food production as the four highest priority economic sectors to focus on developing. This differs from the responses in 2007 when retail and services were higher priorities. The five most important economic conditions that need attention according to respondents are: the high cost of living in Revelstoke, the ability to pay for city services, maintaining a diverse economy, opportunities for youth and support for business. Come and join a discussion about services for small business on Monday, Nov. 26, from 7–9 p.m. at the community centre.
Social strengths and challenges
Revelstoke is a safe community, with 91 per cent of respondents feeling safe in the community and 97 per cent feeling safe at home. However, theft, vandalism and physical assaults are recorded at higher rates than in 2007. Families are coping with the economic slowdown, with 40 per cent of respondents reporting their families are thriving and 52 per cent are managing.
Some respondents report difficulties – 15 per cent do not have someone or some place to turn to when they have personal or family problems and 15 per cent indicate their family is not able to participate in recreational activities they are interested in, mainly due to affordability. The five important social issues that need attention as identified by respondents reflect these challenges: affordable housing, activities for youth, meeting basic needs/addressing child poverty, access to education and care for seniors.
Why we do this survey
This survey is one of the most comprehensive public input tools that measures community views about the quality of life in Revelstoke. It was initiated in the 1990’s as part of a Healthy Communities program. In 2001 it was expanded and included in the first Community Development Action Plan (CDAP), which addressed economic and social issues. 2007 was the next survey date, again, as one aspect of preparing the CDAP – this time integrating economic, social and environmental actions.
The 2012 survey is part of our Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP), which will update our CDAP, with a longer-term lens. The survey samples views after the first few years of incorporating a busy winter tourism season into our community, creating a rich, multi-year history of community perspectives on our quality of life.
The project team is digging into the survey results to better understand community views regarding such things as the ideal population for the community, the preferred number of visitors, sources of stress, and employment challenges.
We invite you to join us at the Sustainability Fair on Nov. 27 at the Community Centre to learn more of the community survey results and tell us how you think Revelstoke can become more resilient and sustainable.
Cindy Pearce is a lead consultant on the City of Revelstoke’s Integrated Community Sustainability Plan team.