- Municipal Council
Mount Royal, November 28, 2014 – Conducted between October 20 and 31 as part of the consultation on heritage and urban planning launched by the Town and serving as the first step in a multi-step process, the results of the CROP telephone survey commissioned by Town Council were released today. They provide a clear picture of the perceptions and opinions of Mount Royal residents on a number of urban planning issues. The main goal of this exploratory process, in which there were generally no right or wrong answers, was to measure the community’s level of satisfaction.
Solidly anchored in local realities and limited solely to residential issues, the survey focused on the architectural appearance of buildings, the Town’s urban planning by-laws, Townies’ potential concerns about oversized homes, municipal involvement in residents’ construction and renovation projects and the make-up and operation of the Planning Advisory Committee (CCU). The survey questions were developed by CROP experts in collaboration with the Town’s urban-planning experts.
Among the more notable findings were the following:
- nearly all respondents (94%) said they are satisfied with the architectural appearance of all the Town’s residential neighbourhoods;
- nearly all (92%) feel the same way about their respective neighbourhood or street;
- respondents’ level of satisfaction with the municipal by-laws is more mixed, reaching only 53% for regulations governing the maximum surface area of dwellings. For their part, the heritage protection by-laws are viewed more favourably, with the satisfaction level climbing to 57% for regulations governing new construction and 66% for regulations governing renovations;
- among residents with recently renovated or constructed dwellings on their street – which corresponded to only a fraction of the total sample (a little under 25% of respondents) – more than three-quarters (77%) feel these dwellings are not oversized “monster” homes;
- 79% of respondents feel the Town is evolving in harmony with its architectural past and the current high quality of its buildings while 88% say they are favourable to the mandatory use of quality materials for construction and renovation projects;
- 71% feel Mount Royal’s new buildings are respectful of the appearance and architectural harmony of their surroundings;
- nearly 30% of respondents overestimated how many demolitions took place last year while 34% said they had no idea what the figure was;
- on the other hand, 64% feel the Town should consider renovation work that substantially alters a building’s façade to be equivalent to a demolition;
- somewhat surprisingly, 43% of respondents said they have never heard of the Planning Advisory Committee (CCU).
The survey’s sampling strategy was based on a random probability sample comprised of 500 Mount Royal households whose respondents were residents age 18 and older who speak French or English. The maximum margin of error (ME) associated with the study (n=500) is ±4.4%, giving a confidence level of 95%.
Although the results need to be analyzed more thoroughly, they already point to several conclusions. For example, a review of the Town’s urban planning by-laws is definitely in order. However, it will have to be done in a context where, at present and generally speaking, the majority of residents remain satisfied with the quality and appearance of homes. Similarly, although the issue of oversized homes is as relevant as ever and will continue to be discussed, finally being able to quantify its scale is revealing. On this point, it was considered important to situate the question in each respondent’s immediate environment – that is, in an observable and familiar setting, namely his or her own street – instead of opening the door to imprecise, possibly emotional impressions. Lastly, at first glance, it would appear the Planning Advisory Committee, a resource that may be misunderstood and underutilized, could benefit from being better known.
Taking these initial results into account, the consultation on heritage and urban planning will continue this weekend, when focus groups meet according to their electoral district. The survey findings will be shared with the participants to inform their discussions. Thus the exploration of Mount Royal’s urban planning and heritage issues will now move from a quantitative portrait to a more qualitative one rich in shadings and nuance. The combined results of the survey and the district-based discussions will subsequently provide fodder for the debates that await the participants in January’s Town Meeting, a plenary type assembly that all residents are encouraged to attend.