Happy in Wellington County Stock image

WELLINGTON ‒ More than 90 per cent of Wellington County residents responding to a new county survey report they are satisfied with their quality of life.

According to Ipsos Canada’s Citizen Satisfaction Survey report, presented during Wellington County council Thursday morning, the majority of residents feel hope for the future despite trust in municipal, provincial, and federal governments trending low across the country post-pandemic. 

“Residents are optimistic about the county’s future, and most think it is possible to achieve a balance between growth and quality of life,” said the report. “Effective communication can play a vital role in this process.” 

The results were based on 403 telephone and 515 online surveys done in April and May of this year.

While road maintenance, housing, and growth and development attracted the highest rates of concern, county citizens’ rated their overall satisfaction with those services at just over 30 per cent. 

Concerns about housing jump from 21 to 40 per cent just among low-income households. 

“I’m very pleased that we’ve actually done the survey since this is the first ever that the county has embarked on,” said Coun. Mary Lloyd. “You always need a place to start and this has given us a great indication of some areas we need to work on.”

Similarly, almost 95 per cent consider county roads and infrastructure vital, yet only 75 per cent expressed satisfaction with these services, “which falls short of the municipality benchmark.”

“There are things that were identified that I think we can improve on,” said Warden Andy Lennox. “We’re doing a lot of things right and what we’re talking about here is using this as a tool to fine-tune what we’re doing.”

But not every councillor was convinced results were an accurate portrayal of how residents feel about county services. 

“For me, (speeding and traffic is) one of the top complaints I receive,” said Coun. James Seeley. “So to see that people don’t really see it as a concern doesn’t really equate to the way the phone rings.” 

On the other hand, Coun. Diane Ballantyne was shocked road maintenance ranked so high while childcare was so low. 

“I was surprised to see how much roads were a concern (since) county roads, in general, are fairly well-maintained,” said Ballantyne.”The calls I get the most concern a lack of childcare so I wanted to understand why that wasn’t translated onto the page.” 

But Martin Hrobsky, senior vice president of public affairs for Ipsos Canada said these inconsistencies can come down to confusion over who is in charge of what. 

“We do know that there is confusion among residents sometimes in terms of which level of government offers which services,” said Hrobsky. “Oftentimes when we talk to residents, they say they don’t really care which level of government provides the service, they just want it provided in the best way possible.” 

One-third of the county said they don’t feel affordable housing and growth are being managed effectively. 

However, over 50 per cent of Erin residents expressed disappointment over the same issue. 

“To me, one of the biggest values of doing a survey like this, is so we get reliable information about what the broader public is saying about our services and the things we do,” said Lennox. “All of us receive those phone calls and comments from residents but sometimes that doesn’t represent the majority and it’s good for us to have a look into what that majority is.” 

Isabel Buckmaster is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.

By Isabel Buckmaster, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 30, 2023 at 10:18

This item reprinted with permission from   GuelphToday.com   Guelph, Ontario
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