IntegrityBC released the results of its Lillooet robooll today – first to the Lillooet News and then to other media outlets.
The Victoria-based watchdog organization says it hopes the poll findings will prod District Council to chart a new course in its relations with local residents.
“The future of Lillooet is too important for common sense to give way to brinkmanship or one-upmanship which increasingly seems the order of the day in local affairs,” said IntegrityBC executive director Dermod Travis.
IntegrityBC says a total of 5,196 calls were placed to 1,446 households in the municipality with a listed telephone number.
There were 969 live answers, 222 no answers and messages were left at 137 households. Another 16 households completed the survey by registering online or over the phone with IntegrityBC.
A total of 266 respondents – or 27 per cent of the total of 985 live answers and households that registered for the poll – completed one or more questions in the survey.
Here are the results:
• 56.13 per cent of the 266 respondents are familiar with the District of Lillooet‘s decision to proceed with the Cayoosh Creek water system proposal and 51.36 per cent oppose the decision. Of those participating, 22.27 per cent support the decision to proceed. The other respondents in the poll either did not know or did not answer the question.
• 54.38 per cent of respondents do not believe the District of Lillooet has given the alternative proposal to the Cayoosh Creek water system sufficient consideration, 19.82 per cent believe the District has.
• 59.81 per cent of respondents believe that the District of Lillooet‘s spending is excessive and 53.37 per cent are dissatisfied with the performance of District Council; 20.67 per cent are satisfied.
Dermod Travis told the News the number of participating households – 266 – “was not that low when you consider that we only allow one vote per household and it’s summertime so I suspect a few people were on holiday.”
Although the robopoll was not a scientific public opinion survey with calls placed randomly to a set sample size, IntegrityBC says the responses from the households that participated should still provide a useful perspective on public opinion.
To allow residents sufficient time to consider the District's July 31response to the Town and Dickey Creeks alternative water plan, Integrity BC says it did not start the robopoll until a week after the District’s July 31 presentation on its water project.
Based on the poll results, Travis said, “The District's presentation clearly failed to sway public opinion, further inflamed passions and demonstrates why a fresh approach to the relationship between the District and its residents is so desperately needed.”
The robopoll was announced in advance to encourage participation in the survey. IntegrityBC says it made three attempts over four days to contact all households in the District of Lillooet with a listed telephone number. Calls were placed during the day and evening from Aug. 7 to 10. Every household was given a chance to have its voice heard but only one vote per household was included in the results of the robopoll.
Online or over the phone options were available to those without a listed telephone number or who preferred to do the poll through other means. Before each of those 16 persons completed the survey by these means, IntegrityBC says it confirmed that their household had not already completed the poll.
The survey included a voluntary non-resident opt out and IntegrityBC says it reviewed all completed surveys to ensure the respondent was a resident of the District of Lillooet.
In May, IntegrityBC called on the provincial government to appoint a conciliator to resolve what it described as “escalating disputes in Lillooet over local governance and water management.” IntegrityBC now says it believes the province’s failure to act has “led to a situation where many in Lillooet have simply dug in their heels even further.”
Editor’s Note: Because the IntegrityBC robopoll information was embargoed until this morning, the District of Lillooet has not had an opportunity to comment on the poll results. The News will post the District’s response online as soon as it is available and will also publish its response in next week’s print edition of the News.