A survey shows citizens want better downtown parking. Ezra Black/The Free Press

Fernie gets high marks for trails, culture and safety in Citizen Satisfaction Survey

Citizens want more parking, better road maintenance

The City of Fernie’s recently published survey shows an increasing number of citizens find it harder to park downtown.

Newly released data published in the city’s 2017 Citizen Satisfaction Survey, found that 40 per cent of people feel that parking downtown is poor, a number that is significantly higher than 2015 (25 per cent) and 2016 (20 per cent).

Of 116 respondents, 10 thought parking was excellent, 26 thought it was good, 32 thought it was fair, 44 rated it poor and three didn’t answer the question.

“Business owners shouldn’t be parking in front of their stores,” said one respondent.

“Patios take up too much parking,” said another.

The survey also shows a drastic decrease in the level of satisfaction with snow removal over the past two years.

In 2017, 19.8 per cent of respondents said they were very dissatisfied with the city’s snow removal service, which was up from 2016 (12 per cent) and 2015 (11 per cent).

Mayor Mary Giuliano said the harshness of last winter might have been a factor as there was increased snowfall and machinery breakdowns.

“I can see why people were dissatisfied,” she said.

There was also a decrease in satisfaction with street maintenance with one respondent saying, “taxes are too high for the quality of roads.”

Published June 29, the annual survey is put out by the City of Fernie to gauge citizen satisfaction of municipal services, citizen engagement, local business development and public safety.

Overall, the survey found levels of satisfaction have remained stable over the past three years.

“For the most part people are pretty happy,” said Giuliano.

The majority of respondents remain deeply satisfied with the city’s trail network, its cultural offerings and its police and fire services.

When it came to communication, social media, website and awareness of opportunities to be involved in decision making most people reported being somewhat satisfied.

The survey was live for three weeks and closed on May 29. It was available to be filled out online or as a hard copy. The number of respondents was up significantly from the 67 people who completed the 2016 survey, but was still approximately half of the 240 people who completed the 2015 version.

“I was expecting more people to fill it out,” said Giuliano. “However usually people respond when they’re upset about things, so I take it as a positive rather than a negative.”

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