Kingston releases 2016 Community Satisfaction Survey results
8 July 2016
Residents have given Kingston Council a high mark for overall performance in this year’s independent Community Satisfaction Survey.
Four hundred Kingston households took part in the annual survey - coordinated by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and conducted by independent group JWS Research in February and March this year.
Kingston Mayor Tamsin Bearsley welcomed Council’s overall performance score of 66, well above the state-wide council average of 59. “We strive to deliver great services, value for money and the survey shows people appreciate this with our overall score seven points higher than the state average,” Cr Bearsley said.
Kingston also scored strongly in the key areas of customer service (74) and overall council direction (66) – both significantly higher than the state average.
Kingston also performed well across most core and individual service measures, achieving stable results in 14 of 25 key measures with residents giving the ‘thumbs up’ to waste management (76), appearance of public areas (73), Kingston’s art centres and libraries (72), and recreation facilities (71).
Mayor Bearsley said Kingston Council believed it was important to take part in the voluntary survey to check-in with residents and listen to their responses,” Cr Bearsley said. “We always have areas we can improve on and it’s vital that we hear from our community to ensure we can make changes where necessary.”
Council’s bottom three performance service areas were planning permits, planning for population
growth in the area and town planning policy.
“These results were shared by local councils across the state and all centre on the challenge of balancing demand for higher density living in a time of population growth with community expectations,” Cr Bearsley said.
Cr Bearsley said that planning was a complex area with many of the rules set by Victorian Planning laws and it was clear Council needed to better explain the ways it was trying to strike this balance including:
- Supporting growth in key activity centres and along high-traffic routes such as Nepean Highway while protecting quieter residential areas (Kingston Council is still awaiting Victorian Government approval of this approach).
- Council introduced stricter parking controls on multi-unit developments that will preclude them from on-street parking in resident parking schemes. This aims to encourage developers to include more on-site parking – however Council is unable to force the issue if the development meets requirements under the state laws. We believe these requirements – of one car park for a 1-2 bedroom apartment – are grossly inadequate.
- Kingston Council is set to commence a Neighbourhood Character Study to help strengthen protection for areas with distinctive neighbourhood character.
- Kingston Council holds planning consultation meetings between developers and concerned neighbours to try to find compromises before applications are lodged. This has resulted in low numbers of appeals to VCAT and a high success rate for Council at the tribunal.
Cr Bearsley noted that when the survey was conducted earlier in the year Council also rated poorly in the areas of lobbying and community consultation.
“We’ve held a wide range of community consultation in 2016 with over 1500 community responses on a broad range of topics including the Bay Trail, public toilets, animal management, traffic issues and an apartment survey. To ensure Council better informs our community about the many ways they can have their say, we are also undertaking a communications survey to hear how people want to be kept informed.”