December 15, 2013 - 10:36 AM
VERNON - People love to live here for the small town feel, picturesque beaches and abundant natural beauty. What they don’t love, according to a recent survey, is the lack of job opportunities and high housing costs.
Results are in for the Regional District of North Okanagan’s first ever Quality of Life Survey, and some findings are eye-opening, says a regional growth strategy coordinator.
Anthony Kittel says residents’ primary concerns revolved around jobs, housing and transportation.
“Employment opportunities and the potential to find a job was considered quite challenging,” Kittel says.
Some residents said they were moving to find work, but there were other reasons as well, including family and education.
The average age of the 1,412 respondents was 40, an often difficult demographic to reach due to their busy working lives.
“It was a rare glimpse into the perspective of younger demographics,” Kittel says. “It was nice to see this survey resonated with them.”
Residents under 30 said opportunities for home ownership are poor, while respondents over 60 indicated they are good. Over half the respondents said they were spending over 30 per cent of their income on housing, something that surprised Kittel.
Residents also had transportation concerns regarding traffic congestion, infrastructure, and parking.
The survey findings will help the Regional District identify priorities and inform its decisions on major projects.
“We’ll be using the information in project selection,” Kittel says. “(In) areas that need greater attention.”
While the degree of concern over employment, housing and transportation was greater than expected, there were no surprises in other areas.
“What we heard from the majority of residents is the North Okanagan is a great place to live, play, raise a family and retire. They appreciate the small town feel and character and identify the region with lakes and outstanding natural beauty,” Kittel says.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013