The results from Sparwood’s Livability Study has been released, garnering mixed results in terms of quality of life and concerns about the community’s air quality.
Findings from the Livability Study were unveiled to District of Sparwood Council on Tuesday.
According to the study, 272 people took part in the survey. Respondents answered 36 questions, covering a broad range of topics, including health care, recreation, the economy, air and water quality, and overall quality of life.
“It gave us a very good picture of where we need to go. We got some very clear understanding of what we thought needed to be improved upon,” said David Wilks, Mayor of Sparwood. “It gave us an understanding from the public’s perspective that the direction that the mayor and council are going is the right direction.”
Air and Water Quality
The study revealed strong thoughts from residents concerning the community’s air and water quality. Many feel Sparwood’s air quality is unhealthy as 73.7% of the 236 people that answered said their quality of life has been impacted by mine-related coal dust.
“Reality is, as long as we have open-pit mining, we’re going to have dust,” explained Wilks. “Teck does what they can to keep the dust down and mitigate it.”
According to the study, 26.4% of 231 people who answered said Sparwood has clean and healthy air, while 73.6% said it is not.
In contrast, 82.1% of survey participants feel that Sparwood has high quality and safe drinking water.
“We had an issue with well number three, the province said we had to heal with it,” said Wilks. “As a result, we’ve contracted with Teck to build another well that will be commissioned here shortly. The full cost of that well was paid by Teck at $5.2 million.”
Wilks added that selenium in the water has been a long-standing issue for Sparwood.
Opinions on clean surface water are someone more evenly split, however. 57% of respondents said Sparwood’s surface water is clean and uncontaminated, while 43% said it is not.
Quality of Life
The strongest response in the entire survey found that 90.8% of people did not feel Sparwood had sufficient quality child care in the community.
Although, according to the results, those that took the survey still have a positive outlook about living in Sparwood. Of the 250 people that responded, 69.6% said they are satisfied with their quality of life in Sparwood, while 30.4% said they were not.
77% of respondents agreed that Sparwood has high-quality public trails.
“The Sparwood Trail Alliance and others involved with that have done an amazing job,” Wilks told MyEastKootenayNow.com. ” We have a really vibrant and active community in regards to biking and hiking.”
In addition to active trail systems, respondents also feel pride about living in the community, with 67.9% agreeing that “Sparwood is an ideal place to live.”
In another question, residents were asked if they feel a sense of ownership and caring about Sparwood. 23.9% strongly agreed while 52.6% agreed with the statement.
“A lot of people have been here a long time, in fact, some people have been here multi-generational. They’re proud of the town,” said Wilks. “I think that if you get the opportunity to drive through Sparwood, you’ll see that most people take pride in their yards. We take pride in that as well, as a town.”
Despite this, most respondents in the survey feel that Sparwood needs more entertainment options. 76.2% said there isn’t enough variety in venues, activities and events.
More: Sparwood Livability Study Results (District of Sparwood)