INDEPENDENT NEWS

Christchurch Still A Great Place

Published: Fri 22 Jun 2001 02:24 PM
More than 90 per cent of Christchurch residents remain satisfied with the city as a place to live, work and send their spare time, according to first results from the City Council's Annual Survey of Residents released today.
Its Garden City image is also strongly felt by residents with 86 per cent believing the city well lives up to the image of an attractive city with lots of trees and parks and where people take pride in their homes and gardens.
The Survey of 788 residents 18 years and over, accurate to within plus or minus 3 per cent of the adult population overall, also shows a high level of satisfaction with the way the city looks and feels generally - nearly 79 per cent being satisfied with this aspect of Christchurch.
Of concern to a majority of residents however, canvassed for the first time in this regular stock take of residents views about their city and its council, is driver behaviour.
Almost 86 per cent of survey respondents reported problems in their local neighbourhood over the last year with dangerous driving, including drink driving and hoons.
THE CITY CENTRE
Christchurch's city centre continues to enjoy a high level of visiting by residents for other than work purposes - 94 per cent reporting such trips in the last year, virtually unchanged over the previous year. Of concern however, and reflecting the increased attention going into city centre revival, is the continued slow decline in frequent visitors. Forty per cent believe the Council is doing the right amount to encourage people to visit the City Centre while 44 per cent support the Council doing more. Sixty six per cent remain satisfied with the range of things to do there. Twenty eight per cent of respondents to the survey reported they had attended a specific event in Cathedral Square sometime in the last 12 months with three-quarters of these rating it suitable for that purpose. Most popular was the Winter Festival. Safety remains a key central city concern. While 89 per cent of residents visiting during the day say they feel safe this falls dramatically to 26 per cent at night.
CONFIDENCE IN COUNCIL DECISION-MAKING
Confidence in Council's decision-making was asked about in this year's survey. Seventy six per cent of potential voters had at least some confidence that the Council made decisions in the best interests of the city with only 10 per cent having little or no confidence in the regard. Eighty four per cent believe they can influence Council decisions while 10 per cent believe they have no influence.
MIXED VIEWS ON THE VALUE OF REFERENDUMS
Thirty eight per cent of survey respondents believe the Council should hold a referendum if it plans to increase rates above the level of inflation, but 46 per cent disagree with such a move, which they were told would cost at least $300,000. Support for a referendum grows if Council planned to undertake major projects that added significantly to Council's debt, with 52 per cent supporting a poll for this purpose, but 31 per cent opposed and the rest neutral to the idea. Referendums are only of value to a majority of residents if they are binding, 72 per cent holding this view.
THE ORION MONEY
Two-thirds of residents support the Council's proposal to use the $175 million payout from the sale of Orion's interest in a North Island gas company. Sixty seven per cent favour a mix of spending on debt reduction and investment in a permanent fund, the proceeds of which would be used for economic and civic development.
VALUE FOR MONEY FROM COUNCIL SERVICES
Survey respondents were asked to rate the value for money they believe Christchurch receives from the share of rates used to fund each of 20 Council services. For 13 of those services two-thirds or more believed the city got good or very good value for money. Highest at 86 per cent was water supply while lowest at 40 per cent was funding going towards getting businesses to create more jobs in Christchurch. Compared with last year's survey value for money assessments were up for 12 services, the same for 4 and down for 4.
More results from the survey are expected next week and the full report the week after.
Ends

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