Roads a concern in survey

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Ashburton District Council’s overall performance has improved according to the latest residents survey results, but there remains strong discontent with the state of the district’s roading network, and also less satisfaction among rural people compared with those in urban areas.

The results of the 2020/21 Annual Residents Survey shows 74 percent of residents were satisfied with council’s overall performance, up from 69 percent in the previous survey. The Long Term Plan (LTP) target is 80 percent.

Satisfaction with mayor Neil Brown was up from 78 percent to 89 percent and for council staff was up from 87 percent to 92 percent.

One area that continues to score low is sealed roads. It scored 38 percent in the latest survey, up from the previous survey result of 34 percent.

The online survey was carried out by Key Research and received 847 responses. Data collection was conducted in four waves over a number of months to get a better representation.

Key Research director Mike Hooker presented the findings to council and said the highest scorers in the district included the library (98 percent), cemeteries (97), emergency management (96), and parks and domain.

Roading was the key driver of overall dissatisfaction with council’s performance and cited by 47 percent of respondents, he said.

Some 50 percent said they wanted more spent on roading and 22 percent said less should be spent on the museum/art gallery.

Mr Hooker said 92 percent of those survey believed Ashburton was going in the right direction, up from the previous survey result of 84 percent.

He said rural respondents scored lower than their urban counterparts in all areas except on the subject of feeling a sense of community.

Urban versus rural scores were 77 percent compared with 69 percent for overall performance, 49 percent compared with 24 percent for sealed roads, 70 percent compared with 59 percent for rates spend satisfaction and 87 percent compared 68 percent for drinking water supply.
The full survey results can be found on the council website.