Survey not all bad news

There were a lot of positives to come out of the latest Kelowna Citizen Survey.

That was the message Mayor Colin Basran portrayed Monday afternoon.

"Given today's social media world, it's really easy to focus on the negative things, but lets not lose sight on the fact there is a lot of good news coming out of this survey," said Basran.

"There will be people who choose to focus solely on the negative, and we know there are a lot of great things happening here."

The survey, produced every two years by Ipsos Public Affairs, gives the city a positive overall report, but Ipsos spokesperson Catherine Knaus told council there are some warning signs when it comes to social issues.

For example, it does indicate, while nearly 95 per cent say they have a good quality of life in Kelowna, a third said that quality of life has worsened since the last survey.

While traffic congestion is one of the reasons cited, the rest of the reasons indicated by more than 10 per cent of people surrounded social issues.

These include rising cost of living (18%), drugs (14%), too crowded (13%), housing affordability (12%) and increased poverty and homelessness (11%).

Knaus said social issues have become more common in other communities across the country, but indicated the concern was higher in Kelowna than in other communities.

"Given the pressures we as a council are feeling in terms of where investments should be taking place, not really any surprises per se, because I think we would agree with everything we are hearing with this survey," said Basran.

"It was previous to this survey coming out that we adjusted our council priorities because we knew social issues were very prevalent and were becoming a major concern with our residents."

Basran said the city is trying to make progress where it can but, when it comes to social and mobility issues, there are no quick, easy, or inexpensive fixes for either of the challenges. I applaud council for trying to chip away at both of those."

The mayor also applauded city staff, which continues to get high marks for overall service and courteousness.

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