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City of Calgary releases citizen satisfaction survey

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Ninety-four per cent of Calgarians feel that the overall quality of services provided by the City of Calgary is "good," up from 91 per cent in 2009.

Other results from the recently released 2010 Calgary fall citizen satisfaction survey are just as promising. Eighty-nine per cent of Calgarians gave the City of Calgary a "good" rating for overall performance, a five per cent increase from 2009. A vast majority of Calgarians, 78 per cent, also considered the overall quality of life in the city to be "good," slightly up from the 2009 results of 76 per cent.

"From a city performance stand point this is a really balanced scorecard," said Ipsos Reid spokesperson Jamie Duncan.

Ipsos Reid, an independent research firm, conducted the survey.

"For the most part, they are on par with other Canadian cities. When we look at perceptions around quality of life, perceived service qualities, they are generally reflective," said Duncan, adding that there are "opportunities for improvement."

Infrastructure, traffic and roads remained the most pressing issues on the City Hall agenda for Calgarians ­-- there was a nine per cent increase in the number of people who thought that it was the most important issue. Infrastructure received 34 per cent of the mentions in 2010 for the most important issue, compared to 25 per cent in 2009.

"We know that infrastructure, traffic and roads, even from a global perspective, is always something that is a dominant issue on this agenda so it's not unique to Calgary," said Duncan. "The percentage is a little higher than in other places, but it is generally reflective not only of Canadian municipalities but also of global areas as well."

Crime, safety and policing have moved down the list of the most important issues facing Calgary. The results were 29 per cent in 2008, 16 per cent in 2009 and are now 12 per cent.

"The one thing with the City of Calgary, where it does outshine other Canadian municipalities, is on their face-to-face contact," said Duncan. "So when we looked at how people feel about interacting with staff, we actually asked them four or five questions about that experience.

Calgary staff are rated about five points higher than the national average at being "courteous, knowledgeable and helpful."

"We use it to benchmark program and service levels, as well it helps guide in direction setting and decision making," said City of Calgary public engagement and research manager Noreen Rude.

"We have continuously conducted this survey over the last 14 years," she said. "It's the importance of continuously monitoring and reviewing those results against what we're doing, I think, that's a good indicator of the city being very conscientious around what citizens' expectations and satisfaction is."

The city feels that by continuously monitoring the results they are able to be aware of citizens' expectations for services.

"I definitely chose Calgary over Edmonton. I do love the trees and the river," said Laura Jonson, a first-year Haskanye student and a resident of Calgary. "So far I'm happy with what I've seen. The transit system could use improvement."

Biology graduate student Madison Kobryn thought transit was moving in the right direction.

"The C-Train is good and they should continue to develop that, focus on increasing public transit," said Kobryn. "I expect the city is doing good. When it's a wealthy city, it's hard to see if people just have money or if the city is doing a good job."

The 2010 survey was conducted Aug. 25-Sept. 2 and involved a telephone survey of 1,000 citizens, 18 years and older.

The margin of error is 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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