Environment survey ahead

Otago residents will be canvassed about their environmental priorities and their expectations of the Otago Regional Council as it moves to better understand the people it serves.

The council’s governance, communications and engagement committee yesterday directed staff to survey a sample of 1700 residents at a cost of $57,100 a year for an annual community survey for the next three years.

Regulatory and communications general manager Richard Saunders said the money for the survey was in draft long-term plan budgets already.

Councillors had given staff a "very clear" message about the need to better understand Otago residents’ views, and directed staff to get a large enough sample size so that views from across each district within Otago were heard.

Mr Saunders said there would be a summary report produced after surveying each year, and in 2023, after the first three-year cycle, the effectiveness of the annual survey would be considered by the council.

The first community survey was due to begin later this year, with a report back to the council before the end of the year.

A survey of residents’ views was conducted in 2014 but it had different aims, Mr Saunders said.

"We are treating this as a fresh start and a commitment to doing it on an ongoing basis," he said.

Versus Research will be contracted to deliver the survey annually for the next three years.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

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