By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: October 18, 2018
Who runs your town?
Two out of five polled in Metro Vancouver say it’s the developers, not the local government, who seem to be in control of how their communities evolve and develop.
The poll was conducted by Research Co, a Vancouver-based company that has been conducting opinion polls for the past 15 years on a wide variety of subjects.
“Right now, people feel left out, with many looking at their serving municipal politicians as catering to the wishes of developers.”
From September 4 to September 7, the company conducted an online study of 653 adults in Metro Vancouver, and asked them who they thought had more influence in their communities: the developers, the local government, or the community itself.
“Thinking about your city, who do you think has more influence?”
As many as 39 % of those polled said it’s the developers who seem to be running the show in their communities.
Only 24% of residents felt their local government was the deciding authority in shaping the future of neighbourhoods.
Furthermore, only 22 % felt it was the community that was in control, and about 15 % of respondents were not sure about the answer.
More men than women were likely to say that developers had an outsized sway over local decision making.
As far as age groups are concerned, however, everyone from millennial to seniors said they felt the developers have far more control over their communities than their local government.
Three in four Metro Vancouverites (74% ) also feel that developers are too quick to demolish and rebuild when existing facades and structures could be kept.
The poll also found it’s not the best time to be a developer if you want to be popular. In fact, only 31 % of Metro Vancouver residents had a positive opinion of real estate developers while 58 % had a negative view.
In a recent article for BIV magazine, Mario Canseco, the president of Research Co, said that this perception in the public’s mind is problematic for incoming city councils as they deal with a public that is increasingly feeling distrustful, hopeless, and helpless when it comes to the relationship between developers and local politicians.
It will take a change in culture for this perception to shift, he added.
“Right now, people feel left out, with many looking at their serving municipal politicians as catering to the wishes of developers,” he said.