Saanich council increased the budget for a series of surveys opening Jan. 21 by 66 per cent in late November. Black Press File.

Saanich council increased the budget for a series of surveys opening Jan. 21 by 66 per cent in late November. Black Press File.

Saanich starts seeking public input on long-term priorities Jan. 21

Surveys will cost taxpayers $83,000

Saanich wants to hear from you.

Saanich residents and businesses will have a chance to shape the policies of the municipality by participating in its citizen and business surveys starting Jan. 21.

“We value the input we receive from our residents and local businesses,” said Mayor Fred Haynes. “The survey responses help guide council’s decision-making for a variety of initiatives. The data also helps us set targets for future service delivery.”

Saanich surveys the community every four years following the start of a new council term.

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The surveys actually consist out of two kinds of surveys — one statistically significant, the other not.

Forum Research Inc., conducting the statistically significant portion of the survey, will survey up to 1,000 residents and 400 businesses over a two-week period by telephone. Participants will have a chance to answer questions on topics such as municipal service delivery, quality of life in Saanich, value for taxes, allocation of funding, public participation opportunities, and strategic and financial planning processes among others.

All Saanich residents can also complete an online survey from Jan. 21 to Feb. 1, which includes questions on topics similar to the citizen phone survey. The online survey opens Jan. 21 at Past citizen and business survey results are also available on the Saanich website.

Forum Research Inc. will present its findings at the Feb. 25 council meeting.

Saanich has budgeted $83,000 for the surveys — up 66 per cent from the original budget.

“I think this is very important input for us, as an incoming council to inform our strategic planning that lies ahead, to give us a sense of levels of satisfaction and priorities in our community with respect to services,” said Coun. Rebecca Mersereau late last year in justifying the increase, with the additional funding coming from Saanich’s strategic initiatives contingency fund, whose current balance stands at $339,580. None of the four returned proposals had come within budget, prompting the increase.

Saanich earlier this month launched Shaping Saanich, which the municipality describes as “a new public education and engagement campaign” to “ensure residents understand the elements of municipal decision making and the opportunities to participate” as part of a “long-term commitment by Mayor and Council to offer opportunities for education and meaningful public input.”

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