Study finds Metro Vancouver residents willing to pay for improving services in their community.
Metro Vancouver is a region of over two-and-half million people comprised of over two dozen First Nations and municipalities, yet very little is known about how residents view the performance of their local governments. The Young Regional Leadership Collective set out to investigate this matter in the fall of 2018 and has just released the findings from their State of Local Government survey.
Millennials and Boomers are often thought of as having opposing values, but the Collective wanted to understand if this narrative extends to views about local government. What the Collective found was both surprising and predictable.
“One of the things that we hear continually is that people are blanket opposed to increased taxes,” said Nathan Pachal one of the survey’s co-authors and a Langley City councillor. “What we found was that 52% of Boomers said they are actually willing to pay more taxes to increase services in their community.” This percentage was higher for all other generations. The survey results show that only around a quarter of the survey respondents wanted to cut taxes and services.
“While there were some surprising differences in opinion across generations,” stated co-author and city planner Katelyn McDougall, “it was also interesting to see how few differences there were across the generations overall.”
The survey results show that people are generally satisfied with the services provided by local governments across Metro Vancouver, though there are some areas where respondents are universally dissatisfied: affordable housing, land-use, planning, and development.
“People have been impacted by the high cost of housing in the region and might associate that with planning. There are many tools planners have that can help improve housing, but so much of it goes beyond the role of the planner and into the world of politics and funding from senior levels of government” says McDougall.
“What I take away from this survey is that across all generations, people are willing to support their local government to improve quality of life,” says Pachal. “People are also looking to their municipality to address challenges such as affordable housing, and are willing to give local governments the financial resources to address these challenges.”
The full report can be downloaded online at: https://report.yrlc.ca/.