FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John wants to implement a scheduled public survey to receive valuable feedback from residents yet traditional surveys might not garner the information the City seeks.
The City Staff made a presentation to Council during Monday’s Committee of the Whole Meeting about how receiving regular input from the community, would be used to gauge the City’s strengths and weaknesses.
The presentation, titled Citizen Satisfaction Survey, shared three options that feedback could be acquired from the community, 1) by a website, 2) by Third Party and 3) Research Company. These three methods are strongly reliant on phone calls. With a budget of $40,000, each option does come with their own pros and cons as they lack personalization to our region.
Council stated they had concerns with the surveys presented as the way the information is gathered is through phone calls. A couple of councillors agreed that phone calls are not a great way to acquire the data needed as people tend to hang up on these calls and do not want to be disturbed at home in this manner.
Acting-Mayor Bolin suggested that a successful survey would require everyone working together and that in years previous their most successful surveys and ways to acquire the communities input was not by phone yet rather a hands-on direct approach such as those that happened during the ‘Let’s talk Site C survey and the Survey about Marijuana’ standing out most to him.
Bolin says it’s time for a more progressive approach in reaching citizens.
“We would miss the entire next generation from the survey if we go that route.”
Bolin also expressed that times have changed and what used to work is not working, he explained municipalities and even the Province’s referendum are receiving a low turn out rate.
“I would rather see us with i-pads out at events collecting information from our citizens, a, we don’t spend the $40 grand and b, the information is more relevant with community participation than it would be if somebody is doing it as a third party.”
Council recommended the City come back with recommendations that were more like the initiatives that took place, such as the Site C Survey and a more grassroots approach rather than getting an outside agency to get the job done.