A new poll shows roughly one in three Langley City and Township residents don’t believe their vote make a difference.
The Insights West poll of Lower Mainland municipalities shows 28 per cent of people living in the Langleys moderately or strongly disagreed with the statement “my vote makes a difference in the way my municipality is run.”
That was the second-most apathetic response in Metro Vancouver, second only to the North Shore, where 29 per cent felt voting was pointless.
Most other Metro area municipalities were less cynical, with a regional average of 22 per cent, or roughly one in four saying their vote made no difference.
The poll results, released on Oct. 23, were based on an online survey conducted from Sept. 24 to Oct. 5, 2014 with 2,138 respondents living in 19 municipalities.
When residents were asked to rate their municipal governments from 10 (excellent) to one (poor), the Langleys ranked near the bottom, with an average of 5.7, slightly better than Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows (5.5), but lower than Tri-Cities (6.8), Burnaby (6.8), Delta, New Westminster and White Rock (6.6) Abbotsford (6.6), Surrey (6.5), the North Shore (6.4), Richmond (6.3) and Vancouver (5.9).
Three out of four Langley residents, 75 per cent, felt that developers and lobbyists have too much power over local affairs, the amount who strongly or moderately agreed with the statement “developers and lobbyists have too much influence in my municipality.”
Roughly one in two people, 53 per cent of local respondents, said the Langleys were doing a bad or very bad job of managing development and growth, while 35 per cent said the governments were doing a good or very good job.
The top Langley issue, according to the poll, was transportation, with 27 per cent rating it most important.
Roughly two out of every three Langley residents surveyed, 60 per cent, said the Langleys were doing a bad or very bad job of dealing with transportation.
That is slightly worse than the Metro average of 50 per cent.
Issue number two in the Langleys was crime, with 18 per cent or roughly one in five respondents flagging it as most important.
The Langleys got a high rating for their handling of crime, with 60 per cent saying the Township and City were doing a good or very good job.
Asked how the two municipal governments have been dealing with homelessness and poverty, 34 per cent said the Langleys were doing a good or very good job, 44 per cent said bad or very bad and 22 per cent were not sure.
The Langleys were given the second-worst ranking among Metro Vancouver municipalities when residents were asked to rate the municipal governments for “engaging with regular people like me.”
One in two, 53 per cent, rated Langley City and Township as bad or very bad in that department.
Only Richmond was worse, with a 55 per cent bad/very bad rating.
Like most Metro residents, one in three or 31 per cent of the Langley residents surveyed said it was time for major changes at city hall.
Another 32 per cent of the Langley respondents said it was time for a minor change.
Insights West vice-president Mario Canseco said the survey revealed “glaring differences” between municipalities on the issues.
“Transportation is a key area of concern in 11 municipalities [including Langley], but not in Vancouver and Surrey, where housing and crime definitely dominate the agenda” Canseco said.