Town council discuss additional census questions

Sylvan Lake town councillors were recently given the chance to propose supplementary questions for the 2013 Municipal Census.

Sylvan Lake town councillors were recently given the chance to propose supplementary questions for the 2013 Municipal Census.

The opportunity for suggestions arose at council’s Jan. 28 meeting, and resulted in a number ideas being put forth for administration to consider.

Coun. Dale Plante spoke in support of the supplementary questions, and felt they could be useful in gathering information pertaining to economic development, and to find out the “potential businesses people would like to see and would be supported by the residents of Sylvan Lake.”

“It’s amazing how that tool could be something that we could use to attract businesses that are actually desirable in the community,” he said.

Coun. Rick Grimson and Coun. Plante suggested that one of the supplementary questions focus on recreational facilities, such as the proposed new multiplex.

“We’re obviously looking right now at additional recreational facilities in general in terms of what’s needed here in town, and that’s a really big issue for us,” said Plante.

Administration recommended there be a maximum of three supplementary questions on the census, to prevent it from becoming excessive in length. In an effort to obtain the most accurate information possible, questions will not be open-ended.

Prior to the Jan. 28 council meeting, senior staff made suggestions for the supplementary questions, and identified a number of potential topics, including environmental concerns, information on communication from the town, and participation in waste and recycling programs.

But Coun. Sean McIntyre felt some of the staff ’s suggested questions may be answered without having them on the census.

“We’re using contractors for the sake of the yard waste, for instance. We might be able to ask them how many households are actually participating. That data might be able to be collected by the people actually collecting that material.

“If we’re looking at only including three questions, we might be able to already cover our bases.”

McIntyre added that he would like to see one of the questions focus on the addition of beach sand above the sea wall.

“I think it’s something that’s absolutely worth putting out to the public,” he said.

Executive assistant Marilee Littmann said Administration would take all of the councillors’ suggestions into consideration and return to council with a draft of the questions before they are adopted.

Correction – Feb 7/13

It was reported in the front page story of the Jan. 31 edition of The Sylvan Lake News that Sylvan Lake town councillor Sean McIntyre supported the addition of sand above the lake sea wall. Coun. McIntyre’s intentions are, in fact, for the restoration and reconstruction of a beach below the sea wall — not above it, as was reported.

We apologize for the error.