ORC keen to survey on Otago concerns

Understanding Otago’s environmental concerns, appetite for regulations, and appreciation of the Otago Regional Council could be part of a new region-wide annual survey.

The regional council wants to start gathering residents’ views in an annual community satisfaction survey.

And councillors will consider this week a staff recommendation to survey a sample of 1700 residents for a cost of $57,100 a year.

Councillors called for the annual survey when they approved this year’s annual plan.

Then, after a September workshop, Versus Research was awarded the contract and have since worked with councillors and council staff to refine the project.

In a report to be presented to the governance, communications and engagement committee on tomorrow, council communication channels manager Eleanor Ross said as 93% of council ratepayers interact with the council online, the proposed quantitative survey would be carried out in stages and online would be completed first.

Phone and postal surveys would then be used to target areas within the sample area as required, she said.

The cheapest survey option presented would include a sample size of 1000 residents, giving an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.1%, and cost $34,400 a year.

If a survey was approved, surveying would begin in August and end in October with a report back to the council before the end of the year, she said.

An attached report from Versus Research said council staff and councillors identified 10 areas to prioritise in the survey.

In the report, it said what Otago residents knew about the council and their present perceptions of the council would initially provide the most useful information.

In 2014, former council chief executive Peter Bodeker said a survey to find out how much people knew about the regional council was the first of its kind for the council, which in the past had only surveyed its resource consent survey applicants.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

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