The online survey for Area C residents on Recreational Practices and Preferences is now closed. Thank you very much to all who took the time to provide us with their opinions.
The key results are as follows:
• Four-hundred-and-seventeen households responded, representing 1,046 people living in Area C. With this large sample size, the results are statistically representative of the community’s opinions;
• The majority of all respondents were female (61.4 per cent), 60-plus years old (57.7 per cent) and reside in Area C for most of the year (96.9 per cent);
• Households included 183 children aged 12 years and under, 47 youth aged 13 to 20 years, 375 adults aged 21 to 60 years and 441 seniors aged 60-plus years old;
• Respondents were from Blind Bay (53.3 per cent), Sorrento (15.3 per cent), White Lake (nine per cent), Sunnybrae (eight per cent), Tappen (5.1 per cent), Notch Hill (4.4 per cent), and Eagle/Wild Rose Bay (3.6 per cent);
• 24.7 per cent of respondents are employed full- or part-time, 13.3 per cent are self-employed, and 52.1 per cent are retired;
• A broad range of recreational activities are currently enjoyed. Most common mentions (in descending order) were: walking, gardening, golf, swimming/swimming lessons, hiking, fishing, fitness classes, aquatics/aquatic exercise, cycling, baseball/softball, hockey and curling. Most common cultural activities were: reading, concerts/coffeehouses, movies, cards/board games, painting/drawing, playing a musical instrument and woodworking;
• Considerable time is spent on recreational activities with 45.8 per cent at two to five hours, 23.9 per cent at six to 10 hours, and 21.4 per cent at more than 10 hours/week;
• Annual expenditures on recreational activities are substantial with 32.2 per cent spending $50 to $200, 21.9 per cent spending $200-$500, and 26.1 per cent per cent spending more than $500;
• A majority (58.1 per cent) would like to start participating in a new activity, or participate more frequently in a current activity. Reasons for no or low participation were lack of local availability, cost and desire to avoid winter/night driving. When asked what the household would be willing to spend to enjoy new activities locally, 15.5 per cent answered $0, 11.6 per cent said $1 to $100, 23.9 per cent said $101 to $250, 26.6 per cent said $251 to $500, and 22.4 per cent would spend more than $500;
• Establishing a recreation and cultural centre would require a significant process of public consultation and planning. 34.2 per cent were very supportive of entering into this process, 23.6 per cent were moderately supportive, 17.1 per cent were undecided, 6.9 per cent were moderately non-supportive and 18.1 per cent were very non-supportive;
• A wide range of comments were received about the idea of a new recreational and cultural centre. Some felt it would improve quality of life, attract new residents and families, provide children/youth with needed recreational opportunities, and enhance real estate values and economic development. Others felt this area couldn’t afford a rec centre, pointing to higher priorities for expenditures, and were concerned about negative effects on existing community halls.
So where does this information leave us? I think results of this survey will form an important part of the information used to develop a new Area C Parks Plan in 2016. This process will involve public consultation and further discussions to ensure that the preferences and aspirations of Area C on this topic are well understood and are addressed in the new plan.
Going forward, my role is to listen to the community and to ensure that we have captured all points of view, before any decisions are reached. I look forward to collaborating with the residents of Area C to develop a new and improved Parks Plan.
-Paul Demenok is the Area C Director for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.