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[OUR VIEW] Life’s pretty good in New Westminster

Here’s some good news for the folks at New Westminster City Hall: We’re pretty happy with life here in our fine city.

Here’s some good news for the folks at New Westminster City Hall: We’re pretty happy with life here in our fine city.

According to an Ipsos Reid survey commissioned by the city, 98 per cent of citizens rate the overall quality of life in New Westminster as good (56 per cent) or very good (42 per cent).That’s a satisfaction rating that would certainly be the envy of many a politician across this country of ours.

The survey was commissioned by the city to help guide its five-year financial plan.

It asked questions designed to help find out where residents think the city is doing well and where it has room to improve, as well as where residents’ priorities lie: with services, or with tax cuts.

On that front, it seems a majority of us (56 per cent) would prefer to see tax increases over service cuts.

On the other hand, a sizeable number (34 per cent) would prefer service cuts over tax increases, so the city shouldn’t take that as carte blanche to just keep increasing taxes. However, it does give our civic leaders some leeway in planning priorities for the next five years.

And the survey can also give our leaders some confidence they’re headed in the right direction. For instance, 92 per cent of respondents are satisfied with the overall level and quality of services provided by the city, while 91 per cent say city facilities and services are affordable and accessible.

Other good numbers: 88 per cent feel New West is a walkable community; 87 per cent believe it’s a place where residents feel safe and secure; 83 per cent feel the city provides good and accessible governance.

These are all positive signs that the city has already set out on a path that most of its residents are happy to continue along.

But we hope the results of the survey don’t go to city council’s head, since it also showed there’s still room for improvement.

Probably not surprisingly, the biggest area of concern was traffic and transportation.

Nearly seven in 10 residents named transportation as the most important issue facing the community, and only 54 per cent of those surveyed believe the city is responding to its transportation needs.

Those numbers should reiterate what city council undoubtedly already knows: We’ve got to solve our transportation woes, sooner rather than later.

The people have spoken.

Now it’s over to you, city council.

Take good care of our future, won’t you?