Safety becomes a concern

Residents in Kelowna don't feel as safe as they did two years ago

More also feel their quality of life has worsened, compared to those who feel is has improved.

Those are just two findings from the city's Citizen Survey, produced every two years by Ipsos Public Affairs.

According to the survey, 87 per cent of residents say they feel safe, compared to 94 per cent in the previous survey.

Public safety, particularly in the downtown and Capri areas, has been a lightning rod issue in the city during the past several months.

It was a key election plank during the October municipal election.

Increased homelessness, break-ins/thefts and an increase in crime were the top reasons cited by residents who
responded that community safety has worsened.

The survey also stated that, while the perception of overall quality of life remains high at 94 per cent, the percentage of those who believe their quality of life has worsened (36 per cent), is far greater than those who believe their quality of life has improved (21 per cent).

When asked to identify specific issues facing the city, more than half, 51 per cent, cited social issues. That's up from 16 per cent in 2015 and 40 per cent two years ago.

Transportation (43 per cent), crime (11 per cent) and growth and development (10 per cent), were also mentioned.

In terms of investment, the number one priority identified by 78 per cent of respondents was to address social issues such as homelessness, mental health and addiction.

Other priorities include traffic flow management (68 per cent), drinking water (64 per cent) and encouraging a diverse supply of housing (62%).

The entire survey will be presented to city council Monday.

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