Take the community survey 0
Those who know me attest to my honesty, my character and my willingness to put the needs of others ahead of my own interests, says new Morden Mayor Ken Wiebe.
By Lorne Stelmach
Are you happy with the recreational opportunities in Morden and would you be willing to pay more in taxes to have more available to you?
And are you satisfied with the level of services from the town overall?
If you have an opinion on those kinds of questions then you should be taking the town's latest community survey.
Now available on the Morden website, the 2012 survey touches on issues like recreation and safety as well as other aspects of the quality of life in what is soon to be Manitoba's newest city.
Mayor Ken Wiebe acknowledged the past surveys have not received the 400 to 500 responses they would need to get a fair picture of the views of the community, so they are hoping more people will take advantage of the opportunity to express their views.
"We want to get a mix ... a general consensus of what people think in the community. It can give us a better idea ... an overall perception," Wiebe commented during his weekly Meet With The Mayor session last Wednesday (June 13).
"The response hasn't been sufficient. It makes it difficult to read what's happening out there."
The survey is one of several initiatives undertaken to have the town and council accessible to the community and to get its feedback, he said, noting others such as the monthly coffee sessions at the Morden 55 Plus Activity Centre and the open community forums.
The latter initiative, however, earlier this spring had minimal attendance, but council will give it another try in November.
And Wiebe added with the weekly Meet With The Mayor held Wednesday mornings, they had even tried evening sessions over a six month period, thinking it would be a more accessible time.
"In the six months that I did that, not one person came."
These are all opportunities for people to have their say on town affairs, Wiebe stressed.
"So if anyone is saying they haven't had opportunity, I would have to beg to differ. They have to take advantage of that."
On any particular issue, Wiebe said council may not always see eye to eye with some residents, but hesuggested people have to remember that council often has to look at the bigger picture to make decisions.
"But generally, a lot of decisions we make are based on what does the community think ... what's best for the community," he added.
"But it's hard to reflect the thoughts of the community when you've only got a hundred opinions. Are 100 people representative of the community overall? That would be a tough sell."
The 2012 survey has a number of general questions about the quality of life in Morden, but it also touches on a couple particular issues including recreational services.
The community has a diverse array of facilities, services and amenities, Wiebe said, but that all comes at a considerable cost.
"Even though we have user fees, the general tax base still subsidizes that recreation to a fairly good degree," he noted.
"If we put it all on taxes, your tax bill would be an awful lot higher. So we try to spread it out and charge some user fees to offset it. And even then, the tax base still covers the deficit on recreation at the end of the year ... but that's a fact of life in any community," he added.
"I think as far as communities of this size go, we have, I think, some excellent recreational programs and facilities. We have the Access Event Centre which is the envy of any community our size."
In the end, then, the question "comes down to ... are you willing to pay more taxes for more recreational facilities?"
You can find the 2012 community survey online at www.mordenmb.com/town/communitysurveys.shtml