Council survey highlights social problems - community strength
The Queenstown Lakes District Council has released a major survey today that highlights fuel poverty, low pay and concern about traffic, parking and over development.
The survey is a huge piece of work, and rather condense this into a few sentences or headlines, Crux has decided to publish the full survey and the council's media release including extensive comments from QLDC CEO Mike Theelen. Here's the media release:
"The results of the recent Quality of Life survey have been published today on Queenstown Lakes District Council’s website. The findings paint a clear picture of life in our district - what people are proud of and what they love about living here and also what the pressure points are for our local communities.
The report is the first step in gathering data on a range of topics including perceptions of growth, safety, income, community connections, and personal resilience. A group of young people at the Wakatipu High School also began work this week to add their voices into the research.
QLDC Chief Executive Mike Theelen advised this survey provides insight into the state of our district as a whole.
“Previous surveys have traditionally focussed on how people feel specifically about Council services, but this survey delves into how people feel about living here from a more holistic perspective,” said Mr Theelen.
“Early in the new year, we want to continue this conversation with the community so we can collectively consider how we tackle the big issues and needs highlighted in this report. We will be inviting key community stakeholders to discuss the report in detail and shape the action that needs to be taken.”
“Additionally, these findings will be used by Council to review the services we provide to our local communities. This data will be a very important resource to support future planning and service delivery, so we will also ensure this feeds into our Ten Year Plans and other long term planning documents,” added Mr Theelen.
QLDC Senior Policy and Performance Advisor Katherine Davies oversaw the research which was administered by independent company, Versus Research.
“We had such an overwhelming response, which gives us real confidence in our results, and we’re really grateful to the community for taking the time to give us this valuable insight into their highs and lows. This will enable all our community leaders, from Council and other organisations, to tell a powerful story of our communities,” said Mrs Davies.
The key findings include:
> Income: 21% of respondents do not have disposable income and 3% cannot cover their expenses. > Reducing waste: 83% of respondents are making lifestyle changes to reduce their waste and their
impact on the environment (such as growing their own vegetables or composting).
> Heating: While 79% can heat their home adequately, 7% said they cannot and 14% said only
sometimes. The main reason given was cost, lack of insulation and glazing. For a small percentage, the
reason was a lack of heating source.
> Resilience: 97% of respondents state they take responsibility for their own actions, 87% say they have
a good support network and 86% say they are an optimistic person.
> Emergency preparedness: Individuals and the neighbourhoods in which they live have strongly
recognised the need to be better prepared for a civil defence emergency. Isolated communities appear to be better prepared than those closer to the central business districts.
> Community safety: Illegal freedom camping, dangerous driving, litter and rubbish dumping, aviation noise and water pollution were identified as significant problems.
> Transport: 30% of respondents walk on a daily basis as an alternative to using a car and a further 8% bike daily.
> Climate change: 75% of those surveyed are concerned or very concerned about the impact of climate change. Although people are making lifestyle changes to assess their impact, more can be done around alternative modes of transport, recycling and environmental protection.
> Residency: Around 25% are not sure whether or not they intend to stay in the district less than two years.
> Pride: Responses indicated a strong sense of pride in our district (however this is dependent on how you rate your quality of life).
> Access to services: Responses highlighted a clear demand for more and better access to key services, especially mental health and maternity services. 25% of people surveyed said they had accessed mental health services in the last 12 months.
> Growth: There were very clear attitudes to growth and the impact of growth, which comes through in the verbatim. 63% said they are not comfortable with the growth in visitor numbers in the district.
> Inequality: Despite the affluence that a large percentage of our community benefit from, the research
shows that there is an inequality gap. This is demonstrated by those who rate their quality of life as extremely poor versus those who said extremely good.
These results form part of a wider piece of research to create a community evidence base.
“It is hoped that the findings encourage partner agencies to share data and for all organisations in our district to prioritise activities, leverage support and increase funding to address the issues our residents are facing. It’s also good to know what our communities feel we are all doing well so we can keep doing more of that,” Mrs Davies added.
Additional information about the survey:
All residents over 18 years of age were eligible to participate in this new survey and the topics covered
The survey was designed to provide a holistic view of life in our district and the design was based on
knowledge of local communities as well as best practice in quality of life studies.
The full survey will be repeated every three years, with a smaller survey and targeted research carried out in
the years in between. This will include strengthen engagement with young people from across the district.
Community profiles will be developed based on the geographical data gathered from this survey."