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RSR ROBBINS Research - British Columbia Politics November 1, 2011
  Nov 01, 2011

A random sample of 250 respondents in the city of Coquitlam between August 3 and 4th, 2007. Based on previous polling conducted recently in this area, the collective of the two being considered, suggests a margin of error on this one of approx. 5% 19 times out of 20, @95% competency confidence. This poll was sponsored in part by NewTrend Optical (604) 942-9300.

Question #1
(Hypothetical)Gordon Campbell's BC Liberal government wants to offer Coquitlam residents the following: In return for completing the construction of Skytrain from Lougheed Mall along the Lougheed Highway to Douglas College in downtown Coquitlam by August 2009, he wants to commence development of some housing at Riverview 6 months thereafter, while retaining the mental health facility and public grounds, in order to augment the tax base of the community and to support the cost of the aforementioned transportation system. What say you citizen? Will you agree with this offer from the Premier of the province?
Yes    43.5 %
No    56.5 %
Undecided    06 %
Question #2
Do you agree or disagree with the Vancouver Olympic Committee's payment of monies for services by public opinion pollsters to survey all Canadians on whether 2010 Games are 'touching the soul of the nation'?
Agree    28 %
Disagree    72 %
Question #3
Do you agree with a 20% over 5 year raise for municipal workers in Coquitlam?
Yes    70 %
No    30 %
Undecided    12 %
Question #4
(To those respondents who answered "Yes" in Question #1). If in question #1 you had been properly informed that arguably there is already enough confirmed development in the works along the southern border of Coquitlam and the Lougheed Highway, or development being considered to augment the tax base to support the cost of Skytrain to Coquitlam city centre, would you change your answer, and say "NO" to any development at Riverview?
Yes, I would change my mind and say    31 %
No, I would not change my mind    69 %
Commentary
Observations:
In question #1 we present a 'manipulated' circumstance wherein respondents are asked to agree with an offer from the Premier of British Columbia. Respondents are informed that our public opinion firm is 'independent', and has a website which is offered to them. We also make it clear that the first question is hypothetical and 'we don't care how they answer it' (the question). More respondents than depicted were asked the first two questions, with question 3 than 4 being 'streamed in' after trial. The percentage relationship between the respondents from initial question and #3 and #4 were considered. Answers to question #1 "Yes" increased markedly day over day.
There is a significant minority of respondents who will accept the offer for transportation in exchange for development. If question #4 provides some insight, we find that about one third of these "Yes" respondents will change their answer on the basis that there is already enough development proposed or being considered to support the alleged need to augment the tax base as a condition of receiving transportation.
Question #1 infuriated as many Coquitlam residents as it did encourage others to make the 'deal'. These respondents either say "we were promised transportation without any threats, we never should have been promised transportation if there were conditions", or respondents of this type said "I don't want to bargain transportation needs with development deals."
The sort of 'flimsy' trial balloon for public opinion polling on the Olympics did not do anything to increase respondent favour for the Games. However just less than one third of Coquitlam residents are die-hard Olympic supporters with many more "sick of hearing about the Olympics." "Olympics this, Olympics that, everything cost more because of the Olympics, I was initially excited about the Olympics, now frankly I don't give a shit. I wanted to go personally, now I am just sick and tired of hearing about it."
Respondents gave quite a lot of thought about the raise for municipal workers designed by pollster Glen P. Robbins. Many who answered, or were undecided did not have enough information, but generally thought is was fair. Some who answered "NO" suggested 3% per year was reasonable enough. I expect a much higher consensus would be achieved at 3.5% to 3.65% per year, and that is where I would advise the deal be made.
Obviously more details have to be considered regarding this tax base/development/transportation discussion, particularly as it pertains to development at Riverview. If question #1 was an attempt to show a best case scenario for development considerations, any manipulative 'footprint' was ameliorated somewhat given the opportunity for respondents to reconsider on the basis of 'new information' set forth in question #4.
To this extent, it is our position that the BC Liberal government has real support of Coquitlam residents for its Olympic efforts in the area of 25-33%. The development of Riverview is another matter however. As indicated some residents are willing to take 'the deal' so long as everything to do with the mental health facility and grounds is kept as is. Once one of the provisions in the deal is exposed as potentially false, there is a loss of support of a reasonable number of respondents.
Coquitlam city hall has confirmed development at the Fraser Mills site in southern Coquitlam near the Lougheed Mall. Recently Coquitlam narrowly voted down a 6 tower development right on the southside Coquitlam/New Westminster border, approximately 100 metres from the Braid Street Skytrain. If this vote were reconsidered by city councillors Lou Sekora, Richard Stewart, and Mae Reid than between the two developments considered, there would be a considerable increase in the overall tax base, greatly reducing the need for any discussion about housing at Riverview. It should be noted that the 6 tower project voted down is proposed by a very innovative US development firm with a highly successful history. Obviously more questions would need to be asked, but by whom? Mainstream pollsters being considered for 2010 Olympic pollsters are to be paid by private business, and developers are private business, so obviously the mainstream pollster may not be the best to do this. However, Coquitlam certainly requires a significant poll or referendum on the subject of what should or shouldn't take place in the city in terms of development.
ROBBINS has already said it's piece in terms of the Evergreen Line on St. John's in Port Moody. Anyone who has followed this proposal has got to wonder why it was ever considered viable. The more obvious choice of Skytrain was never contemplated as linked to development, however despite BC Liberal Housing Minister Rich Coleman's desire to bring the Forestry industry in this province back from the doldrums (possible at Coquitlam's expense), and his proclaimation that there is no tie to transportation, there is enough circumstantial evidence in reported positions from politicians to suggest that this denial is simply just that.
It is also important to note the early date of completion of Skytrain in our hypothetical question #1, and the timing of development, not to commence until the transportation system is completed (6 months).
This poll along with our previous poll suggests that the government has an uphill fight when dealing with development at Riverview. The government is not well trusted, its word virtually worthless with many respondents. Other respondents are doubtful about the government's good or ill will however one perceives it, this also predicated somewhat on the powerful perception that all efforts, and resources are tied to the Olympic effort. There is a thread of powerful minority support for the Olympics and everything else should follow including development if necessary, but the majority thread is one of "NO".
The erstwhile attempt at LRT down St. John's Street is beginning to look suspicous. By this I mean that despite attempts by some to promote this as viable, it seems more like an accommodating 'stall tactic' by a provincial government that really wasn't interested in providing bona fide transportation to the region in the manner they first mused. I don't expect that the Premier, would win any competitions for perceptions of good faith dealing, however he may still have a strong minority of support for wanting to move things in a 'positive' direction. Unfortunately communication efforts aren't that good, are often without any requisite sophistication and to be a little critical often seem short on information, or otherwise littered with misinformation. The result is that the Premier's word and the word of his Cabinet NOW translates only to firm supporters while swing voters, I expect are not onside.
This ultimately makes it much more difficult against viable resistance to get things done in timely fashion. The price for democracy it would seem.

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