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City growth reflected in residents’ opinion survey results

Dunedin (Thursday, 21 November 2019) – Results of the latest Residents’ Opinion Survey reflect a growing population and a flurry of development and construction activity in the city, says Mayor of Dunedin Aaron Hawkins.

The survey, which covers the period July 2018 to June 2019, asked participants to rate their satisfaction with DCC services and facilities, as well as gauging their perceptions of the city.

One of the big improvements this year was residents’ agreement with the statement that “Dunedin is a thriving city” – up 8 points in 2018/19 to 59%, while satisfaction with support for economic development in the city was up 6 points to 54%.

“These increases are pleasing and not surprising,” says Mr Hawkins. “Dunedin’s job and population numbers have been steadily increasing for several years and there’s plenty of positive development, construction and other projects already underway or in the planning stages.”

Mr Hawkins says a major factor in Dunedin’s growth is its lifestyle offering, including its outstanding range of cultural and recreational facilities – which again scored highly in this year’s survey.

The Dunedin Botanic Garden (95%), Olveston (95%), Toitū Otago Settlers Museum (94%), Otago Museum (93%), the Regent Theatre (93%), Dunedin Public Art Galley (92%), Dunedin Public Libraries (90%) and Forsyth Barr Stadium (90%) all achieved satisfaction scores of 90% or above.

However, Mr Hawkins acknowledged that Dunedin’s recent success had come with some growing pains. Satisfaction with the flow of traffic at peak times was down 10 points to 28% and satisfaction with the availability of parking in the central city was down 7 points to 22%. Overall satisfaction with the DCC was down 5 points to 52%.

“These results likely reflect the fact that more people are moving to Dunedin and there are therefore more vehicles on the roads,” Mr Hawkins says. “With finite road space and further major developments such as the hospital rebuild still to begin, these issues will only be exacerbated unless we can reduce the extensive reliance on motor vehicles for getting around the city.

“While alternative transport won’t be practical for every person or every trip, providing safe, viable and affordable options will ultimately help to reduce traffic congestion and free up available car parks for those who need them. It will also support our environmental ambitions such as the Council’s 2030 net carbon zero goal.

“Improving the safety and suitability of the road network for cyclists is one key component in encouraging alternative transport. While resident satisfaction with this measure is still low at 34%, it is pleasing to see a 6-point increase in this year’s survey results. This increase reflects the cycleway work carried out to date and, while there’s still a way to go, we should see that measure continue to improve as more parts of the cycle network are completed and joined up,” Mr Hawkins says.

Of the 4,800 residents randomly selected from the electoral roll and invited to complete the survey, 1,372 did so – a response rate of 28%. The survey was carried out each month from July 2018 to June 2019 by independent research company Key Research and has a margin of error of +/- 2.2%. Full results and detailed information is online at www.dunedin.govt.nz/ros.

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