Survey shows six in 10 Kamloops residents feel life has worsened over past three years

Decline in quality of life?

The mayor of Kamloops says results from a recent citizen satisfaction survey shows council has a lot of work to do when it comes to improving life for residents.

Results from the 2022 Citizen Satisfaction Survey, which was conducted for the City of Kamloops by Forum Research Inc., were presented to city council on Tuesday.

The survey showed 64 per cent of respondents felt their life in the Tournament Capital has worsened over the past three years, with researchers saying this trend has also been tracked in other Canadian municipalities.

Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson noted there are people from all over the world who love Kamloops, but told Castanet he feels the survey results show council has "a lot of work to do."

“My main takeaway is that it looks like we’re not doing very well on quite a few fronts,” Hamer-Jackson said.

He said he is “tired” of hearing how issues in Kamloops are also seen in other communities.

"I think we’ve really got to focus on our community and be a lead for other communities,” Hamer-Jackson said.

The survey took place between Oct. 18 and Nov. 8, with researchers using a random dial method to select survey respondents. According to Forum Research Inc., a little more than 400 Kamloops residents responded to the phone survey.

Winsome Stec, senior research director for Forum Research Inc., told council that 83 per cent of respondents feel their overall quality of life is good or very good.

Stec said the last time the survey was conducted in 2019, 95 per cent felt they had a good quality of life — a decline of 12 per cent.

“This net good decline, it’s not a unique finding to Kamloops," he said.

"We are seeing that municipalities across all of Canada, they have been seeing this decline since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic."

However, Stec said 64 per cent of Kamloops respondents — six out of 10 people — feel their life has gotten worse over the past three years, while only one in 10 feel their life has improved during this period of time.

“When we compare the results to 2019, we do see that more residents are saying the quality of life has become worse,” Stec said.

“As I mentioned before, we are seeing this phenomena across other Canadian municipalities.”

Stec said 46 per cent of residents reported their quality of life in Kamloops has gotten worse due to homelessness and poverty, and 45 per cent said they have been impacted due to an increase in crime.

The cost of living and housing affordability have negatively impacted the quality of life for 22 per cent of respondents, according to the survey.

However, survey results also indicated 71 per cent of residents believe they receive good value for their tax dollars, and 90 per cent of residents are satisfied with recreation and sport programming.

Survey findings showed those most positive about Kamloops’ trajectory are younger residents, with 20 per cent of people ages 18 to 34 saying their quality of life has become better, compared to just one per cent of people aged 45 to 54.

Coun. Katie Neustaeter said she felt the information was “incredibly helpful.”

“It reinforces a lot of what we already know, even the big five — homelessness, crime affordability, impacts of addiction, health care — that those are we need to send our attention,” she said, noting she found the community comparison benchmarks helpful as well.

“As a perpetual promoter of Kamloops and a believer in Kamloops, I would suggest that if more people were promoters of it, we would see those metrics change as well.”

According to the City of Kamloops, the report will be used to help mayor and councillors develop their council strategic plan later this month.

The full report can be found on the City of Kamloops website.

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