Evi Mustel, principal of Mustel Group Market Research, presenting on the group’s findings to Qualicum Beach residents at an open house at the civic centre Wednesday, Sept. 13. — Lauren Collins photo

Qualicum Beach unveils survey results

Quality-of-life survey held as part of OCP development

After months of preparation and response-gathering, the results of the Qualicum Beach Quality of Life survey are finally in.

The Town of Qualicum Beach hosted an open house and public engagement session Wednesday (Sept. 13) to share results of the recent Quality of Life survey and the Official Community Plan review process.

The survey, conducted by Mustel Group, included an opt-in survey that was mailed to residents, as well as an online and a random phone survey. Evi Mustel, the principal of Mustel Group, presented to an audience of about 100 people on the survey’s finding.

A concern echoed by a handful of people at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre was how the random survey was chosen.

Mustel said her company randomly selected a household and once it got in contact, it would randomly select a person to interview in the household. The opt-in survey, Mustel said, could be skewed to a certain demographic, such as longer-term residents, people who tend to be older or those more invested in the community.

As an example, the opt-in survey shows about five per cent of people under the age of 45 took part in the survey. But Mustel said according to Statistics Canada data, about 15 per cent of the town’s population (residents over the age of 18) is under the age of 45, so the random sample would follow Statistics Canada’s data.

“The opt-in sample is slightly skewed older whereas the random sample is representative of the population,” Mustel said. “Let’s say we were targeting for ‘X’ number of individuals under 45 or ‘X’ number of males or ‘X’ number of females, once those quotas fill up, then we would start looking for men under 45 years of age. In the later days, as we were reaching our quota of 200, then we would start targeting that way to find that demographic.”

Including the random sample, a total of 2,030 questionnaires were completed and returned (1,404 on paper and 626 online), according to the Mustel Group’s data. Of the self-completed surveys, 1,764 were completed by residents, 50 were completed by non-residents of the town and 595 respondents were business owners.

Some of the highlights of the survey findings include:

• The Quality of Life survey included a map of the new community bus routes in town and asked whether or not people would be likely to use the new service. Eight per cent said they would definitely use the route, 43 per cent said they would maybe use the route depending on details, 48 per cent said it was unlikely that a member of the household would use the new routes and two per cent didn’t state an opinion.

• For satisfaction on recreation facilities, people could either choose ‘very satisfied,’ ‘satisfied,’ dissatisfied,’ ‘very dissatisfied,’ ‘don’t use’ or ‘no opinion.’ Mustel said with the initial facility choices, such as the public beach, trails or the civic centre, there was a high percentage of people who were ‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied.’ However as people were given specific facility choices, such as children’s playground, school gymnasiums or Oceanside Place Arena, those percentages went down since there is not a high usage of the facilities by the demographic.

• For features that would improve the character or enjoyment of the town, the top choices were: outdoor seating for restaurants (28 per cent random survey, 31 per cent opt-in survey), underground hydro wires (26 per cent, 27 per cent), benches and seating areas (25 per cent, 28 per cent), more public washrooms (23 per cent, 26 per cent), free Wi-Fi (21 per cent, 19 per cent), parking (19 per cent, 23 per cent) and small parks and open spaces (19 per cent, 17 per cent).

For a full report on the survey, visit www.qualicumbeach.com.