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Quality of Life and Satisfaction with City Services Remains High


March 28, 2011 – Thunder Bay residents rate the quality of life in the City very highly (87%) and overall satisfaction with City services remains high (86%), according to the results of the 2011 Citizen Satisfaction Survey conducted by Ipsos Reid Public Affairs in February. The results were presented at tonight’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

“We are very pleased that satisfaction with services remains high,” said Mayor Keith Hobbs. “As always, there is more work to be done such as improving our roads and Council has taken important steps in this direction by increasing capital spending for roads in 2011 by $1.5 million.”

 Other key findings:

  • Residents continue to believe they receive fairly good value for their tax dollars (73%)
  • Even though the economy remains the #1 top of mind issue, the portion of residents reporting it has decreased 23 points since 2009 and 39 points since 2007 – perhaps reflecting the improvement in Thunder Bay’s economy and the economy overall
  • Road maintenance continues to top the list as the City service most in need of improvement
  • Asked to trade off between higher taxes and reduced service, one half of residents favour increasing taxes, while 37% favour service cuts
  • Attitudes are more mixed on whether there should be a dedicated tax increase earmarked to upgrade City infrastructure including roads
  • There is moderate support for increasing the number of bike lanes on City roads
  • Residents feel fairly safe and two-thirds are aware of the Thunder Bay Crime Prevention Council

The City of Thunder Bay has conducted a Citizen Survey every two years since 2005. The current report includes a technique called a “gap analysis” that compares resident satisfaction with services to the importance they place on those services. The gap analysis is designed to assist the City in prioritizing resources and benchmarking the results.

Based on the gap analysis, priority areas for improvement are maintenance of streets, roadside maintenance, storm water drainage, recreation programs for youth and neighbourhood parks. Each of these areas are cited by residents as being important, yet receive relatively lower satisfaction ratings.

“Residents really like living in Thunder Bay and they are overall very positive about their City services,” said Graham Loughton, Vice President for Ipsos Reid Public Affairs, who presented the results to Council.

“We want to thank the many residents who took the time to give us their views on City services,” said Councillor Iain Angus, Chair of Council’s Community Communications Committee. “Citizens want to be more engaged and that requires ongoing communication by the City. More people are reading our citizen newsletter, up nine points to a slight majority, and they are demonstrating an increased desire for web-based communications.” The committee is working with Administration to enhance communication between the City and residents. Councillors Brian McKinnon, Aldo Ruberto and Joe Virdiramo are also members of the Committee.  

The survey provides quantitative data to assist the City in developing its new strategic plan and to inform Council’s budget decision-making by providing broad public input on residents’ expectations and views on City services and projects.

“The citizen survey is a great way for Council to understand how satisfied residents of Thunder Bay are with City services and projects and what are the priority areas they want addressed over the next few years,” said City Manager, Tim Commisso.

The survey involved 500 interviews conducted between Feb. 21 to 28 among a randomly selected, representative sample of Thunder Bay residents aged 18 years and older.  The overall survey results were weighted by age and gender to be representative of the population of Thunder Bay and are considered to be accurate to within +/- 4.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The report of the survey results will be posted to the City’s website at: www.thunderbay.ca/yoursay.

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Contact: Karen Lewis, Manager – Corporate Communications and Strategic Initiatives, 625-3859