Times Are Changing and Opinions Matter

Salt Spring Insights, an online research panel created in 2022 to enhance the quality of conversations taking place on Salt Spring, has concluded its first year. The Salt Spring Insights online research panel is structured to represent Salt Spring residents by key demographics and regions on the island. And it has proven very accurate at capturing the mood here.

A lot happened on Salt Spring in 2022; you told us you were happy, but have serious concerns about housing affordability, and you questioned the value you are receiving for the tax dollars you pay and approved borrowing to build a new fire hall. Here are some of the highlights revealed by Salt Spring Insights panelists.

The mood is upbeat but concerned

  • Salt Spring Islanders are happy with their quality of life (87%), but concerns include access to affordable housing, providing more services and facilities, building better road and ferry infrastructure, and the perennial issue of improving the governance structure. The doctor shortage, improved walking and cycling paths and the need to build community spirit were also cited.
  • Perceived value for tax dollars paid to different providers varies, with fire services rating the highest (62% good value), while less than half of residents think they get good value for the taxes they pay for CRD transit or parks & recreation services. About four in 10 think the school board provides good value, while water services are rated most poorly in terms of taxpayer value.

The new fire hall was approved by 75% of voters, exactly what we predicted

  • Taxpayer approval was required to borrow the money necessary to build a new fire hall. Given the numerous failed attempts to win approval in previous years, the campaign to seek approval in late June 2022 was closely watched. Salt Spring Insights correctly predicted that 75% of voters would approve the project.

Despite uncertainty about the concept, a local community council was approved

  • Prior to the referendum in the fall of 2022, Salt Spring Insights asked participants whether they approve or disapprove of the concept. Almost four in 10 approved of the idea, about one-third were unsure and just under a third were opposed. Excluding those who were unsure, Salt Spring Insights revealed the idea would be passed, which it was, by 61% to 39%.

Who says nothing ever changes on Salt Spring?

A new fire hall, a new emergency department, approval of the Vortex project, creation of a new 75-acre public park on the northeast slope of Hwmet’utsum/Mt. Maxwell, the passage of the LCC concept. You can add your voice to the important conversations taking place in 2023 by signing up to become a Salt Spring Insights panelist at saltspringinsights.com

Read the full details of the report summary below.

Bruce Cameron is President of the strategic communications firm Return On Insight and co-founder of Salt Spring’s own consumer opinion panel, Salt Spring Insights.