Maintaining roads, water and sewer infrastructure was the top issues identified by 52 respondents in a City of Courtenay survey dubbed Citizen Budget.
The recently-piloted tool allows the public to review operating budgets. It also includes a survey to solicit feedback from residents, who are asked to list the top five issues that face the City. Maintaining infrastructure topped the poll at 73 per cent, followed by transportation (59 per cent), parks, recreation and cultural services (49 per cent) and environment (47 per cent). Crime and public engagement tied for fifth at 35 per cent.
Most respondents said the City provides “very good or fairly good” value for protective services, recreation/parks/culture, water/sewer utilities and waste collection. Transportation services received a lower grade. Many respondents requested less focus on ‘car-centric’ planning and more focus on other modes of travel, along with the infrastructure to support it.
In past years, open houses and budget information posted online has generated minimal response from the public, a staff report states.
“It’s tough to engage the community,” director of financial services Tillie Manthey said Monday at council. “This is a good tool. I think it’s a good source of information for council.”
Mayor Larry Jangula feels the positive responses indicate the populace is generally happy.
Coun. Doug Hillian, disappointed in the number of respondents, does not think council should over-value the survey results. However, he said opinions about ‘car-centric’ planning are significant.
Manthey feels the City can improve Citizen Budget next year by making it more interactive.
Of the 52 respondents, 42 live in Courtenay and 10 reside in Comox or rural areas.
The survey remains open to the public until June 30. Find it at courtenay.citizenbudget.com.