by Colin Smith
More than 300 Morinvillians made their views known in the 2015 Communications Survey undertaken by the Town this spring.
The 14-question survey was launched Mar. 4 and residents had seven weeks to complete it, either online or in a printed version. The survey closed Apr. 22.
Morinville Communications Coordinator Felicity Bergman presented a report on the survey results to Town Council at its Mar. 26 regular meeting.
According to the report a total of 344 surveys were completed, 282 of them done on online. The remaining, printed, surveys were filled out at the Morinville Public Library, Civic Hall, the Community Cultural Centre, Leap Into Spring Expo and the Mar. 26 Arena/Recreation Facility Information Session.
Of those who responded, 313 people, or 91.8 per cent, indicated they resided in Morinville. Sturgeon County residents were second largest group represented, and there were also individuals from a smattering of other locations, some as far as Slave Lake and Calgary.
The largest number of surveys, 83 (24.5%), was completed by individuals aged 45 to 54 years, with those aged 35 to 44 years next at 78 surveys (23%).
The aim of the survey was to get an idea of what information the residents want from the Town, how they get information now and other ways they might like to receive it.
It’s hoped the survey feedback which will help the municipality effectively provide residents, businesses, community members and stakeholders, with relevant information, updates and news in an effective manner, and will provide insights for current and future advertising and communications plans.
The 14 questions covered four areas: demographic information, overall communication, current communication and future communication.
Among the results was that about 75 per cent of respondents felt that they were fairly well or adequately informed through Town of Morinville communications. Only 9.3 per cent believed they were kept fully informed, while 16 per cent felt they received limited information or not much at all.
The items that respondents felt it very important to be informed were first and foremost Major Town Projects (86.9%), Town Festivals and Events (80.2%) and Town Services (78.2%).
Most respondents (53.2%) want to receive information online, through website, email or social media, with some thirty-four per cent opting for print materials such as newspaper, newsletter or brochure, and about three per cent preferring face-to-face. Other preferences included online live audio and recording of meetings – not currently available, utility bills and roadside signs.
The survey report states that the responses from the survey will directly influence the Town of Morinville Communications Plan, currently in draft form and under review.
Actions that are being considered as a result include improvements to the Town website, increased use of utility bills to reach residents, more promotional videos, review of Morinville Welcome Bags, and stepping up presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
The report cautions that the survey results capture the views of a small portion of the population, as the total number of responses represents less than four per cent of the population, 9,402 in the 2014 census. However, as the first of its type, it’s considered a success, having exceeded the participation target of 300 completed surveys.
A notice of the communications survey was delivered to all residents with their April utility bill: 3,200-plus copies mailed or sent electronically if registered through E-services.
The survey was promoted in weekly advertising in both local papers, on Town television screens at all Town facilities, through the website and social media. Residents were also given the option to call in and complete the survey over the phone.
Two requests for comment from Mayor Lisa Holmes were not responded to by our press deadline.