Survey says: So you think you know your city


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Earlier this summer, the city participated in a survey of households carried out as part of a training program by members of the Survey Skills Development Course of Statistics Canada.
The purpose of the undertaking “was to collect data from the residents of the City of St. Thomas to assess the quality of municipal communications as measured through residents’ awareness, participation and use of available services and amenities in the city.
The target population for the survey was defined as adults aged 18 and older, who were residents of a private dwelling in St. Thomas during the period of June 17 to 21.
It was a “simple random sample of 1,587 privately occupied dwellings, selected randomly from a total of 16,450 dwellings,” according to the report.

The findings are quite fascinating and, in some cases, shatter commonly held beliefs.
For example, while many downplay the popularity of the summer Iron Horse Festival, the survey found almost half (48.9%) of St. Thomas residents attended the street festival.
By comparison, 37% also attended the Canada Day Celebration, 36.5% the Optimist Santa Claus Parade, 27.4% the Fire Muster Days, and 27% the St. Anne’s Community Festival.
The survey found the most common reasons for not attending the Santa Claus Parade were lack of desire (41.2%) followed by time constraints (30.7%).
As for the Canada Day celebrations, the most common reasons for not attending the July 1 party were time constraints (34.2%) followed by lack of desire (18%).
The most common reasons for not attending the St. Anne’s Community Festival were lack of
desire (39.5%) followed by time constraints (23.4%).
Back to the Iron Horse Festival, the most common reasons for not attending the event were lack of desire (41.6%) followed by time constraints (27.6%).
Just over 33% of those who didn’t attend the Fire Muster sited time constraints followed by lack of desire (28.8%).
With regard to Pinafore and Waterworks parks, 65.9% of St. Thomas households that use the facilities use the parks at least monthly; this includes those who use it on a daily basis (6.7%) and on a weekly basis (23.6%). 33.8% households report going to Pinafore or Waterworks parks on a yearly basis.
Overall, St. Thomas households who go to the public library do it more for leisure (73.2%) than for education (54.3%).
And finally, the vast majority (94.1%) of St. Thomas residents, irrespective of their belonging to the specific socio-economic groups measured in the survey, felt their city is senior-friendly.
You think you know your city and the people who live here? Take the time to read the report on the city hall web site here.
You very well may be in for a few surprises.

HOW DIFFICULT CAN THIS BE?
You think Chester Street residents are fed up with the utter chaos that is a result of the closure of Sunset Drive for 10 weeks?
Here’s an edited observation from one harried householder.
“I live on Chester St. … my neighbour sat outside his house one afternoon and counted 1,400 vehicles, (cars, trucks, bikes and yes … transports and dump trucks)in four hours, this street is a double lane street with parking on one side, if you are heading eastbound you have to slow down and wait for vehicles that are heading westbound because of the parking and then there are 1,400 vehicles driving this street.”
The detour plan was revisited Monday at council and re-tooled to now close off Sunset to all traffic south of Bush Line, with the exception of school and transit buses.
And did that resolve the situation?
Not by the sounds of the police scanner on Friday where, at one time, nine vehicles were awaiting tickets from officers.
Is the detour strategy that flawed or are an increasing number of motorists flaunting the law?
In a call Friday afternoon to John Dewancker, director of environmental services for the city, you could hear the frustration in his voice.
Over 70 signs have been erected in order to direct traffic away from Sunset Drive, he informs.
“And that includes detour signs that have been properly positioned and placed,” Dewancker advised. “It continues to be a challenge.”
In addition to the tweaking on Monday, Dewancker told this corner the city may be forced to up the ante.
The next step would be to reroute all buses off Sunset, south of Bush Line and erect concrete barriers at that location.
“We can go there,” challenged Dewancker.
It’s marvellous how many motorists believe they are exempt from obeying road closure warnings.
Of course, these are the same people who are likely to respond, “As a matter of fact I do own the road.”

WE’RE NOT GOING THERE
Not a single word was uttered Monday when the request to declare Oct. 14-20 European Heritage Week in St. Thomas came up on the agenda.
As a result, the city will not join the likes of London, Halifax, Victoria, Fredericton and Parry Sound, which were all hoodwinked into observing a week to promote European heritage by a white supremacist group known as the Nationalist Party of Canada.
The head of the NPC is Don Andrews who has been convicted under federal hate laws.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Our tolerance has diminished considerably.”
John Dewancker, director of environmental services, was more than a little frustrated Friday as he spoke to City Scope about the alarming number of motorists who continue to ignore the Sunset Drive detour signage.
City Scope appears Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to ian.mccallum@sunmedia.ca.

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