Curbside Telephone Survey Results Are In.

Robert Thomas

The results are in and the majority of Moose Jaw residents prefer back alley solid waste/garbage collection. 

That's according to a recent telephone survey into the solid waste utility. Conducted by Insightrix Research, the telephone survey found that 85 percent of Moose Jaw residents favour back alley garbage collection. When informed that converting to curbside would provide savings of $152,000 annually, support for back alley garbage collection fell to 51 percent.

The survey also rendered a 6.9 out of 10 response in regards to satisfaction with overall garbage collection.

Additionally, respondents expressed concerns with the move to bi-weekly from weekly collection, ranging from 20 percent in zones already converted to curbside collection to 27 percent in zones not yet converted to curbside. The move to bi-weekly was undertaken as a cost saving measure as well as to increase recycling rates by residents. 

Read: Recycling Leads to Big Savings

“We have never undertaken a phone survey before and we’re very pleased at the response,” said Craig Hemingway, Communications Manager for the City of Moose Jaw.

Regarding resident’s concerns that the survey was a way for the City to force through what many saw as an unpopular city-wide expansion of curbside, Hemingway said the survey was designed to give Council the most objective feedback of what residents opinions were.

“I never had any concern going in (it wasn't objective). We were hoping for the survey to come through as soon as possible to prove to residents it's not a fix,” he said.

Regarding other concerns the survey didn't reach out to all residents, Hemingway said he was happy to see 25 percent of respondents were cell phone users.

He pointed to residents eagerness to respond to the survey as a reason why it was successful and the City had done a lot to inform residents about the survey, so they were receptive to answering the calls. In total, the response rate was 27 percent. It needs to be noted other similar surveys such as political polls often barely receive a 10 percent response rate.

The majority of respondents were 65 years of age and over at 45 percent, 55 to 64 years of age at 24 percent, 35-54 years of age at 23 percent and 18 to 34 years of age at eight percent.

The Insightrix survey heard opinions from 400 Moose Javians – 200 from Zones 1-4 which had converted to curbside and 200 from Zones 5-8 which had not converted to curbside.

Support for city wide curbside conversion  was highest in zones already converted at 34 percent whereas in zones not already converted the support fell to 12 percent. It needs to be noted that Zone 3, in the new garbage zone map, is the Sunningdale neighbourhood which has always had curbside collection.

When survey respondents are told about the cost savings of $152,000 annually by instituting city wide curbside collection support for backlane collection drops dramatically to 51 percent. The majority of residents supporting curbside, when informed about the dollar savings, are in the already converted zones where support drops to 44 percent with 14 percent unsure. In the zones not converted, support for backlane collection drops to 59 percent with 29 percent unsure.

In Zones 1-4, prior to instituting curbside collection, the number one concern mentioned by respondents was the inconvenience of moving bins, at 27 percent, after conversion it dropped to 11 percent.

In Zones 1-4, the number one concern stated following conversion was that it was unsightly/messy; at 15 percent prior to conversion it was 19 percent.

In the converted zones 19 percent of respondents stated that they had no concerns before conversion and after conversion the number of respondents with no concerns rose to 32 percent. It should once again be noted that Zone 3 is Sunningdale, which has had curbside since it's development.

In zones not converted to curbside, the number one reason given to oppose conversion was parking issues, at 36 percent. It needs to be noted that in the unconverted zones many homes are on smaller lots, with limited off street parking available.

In the unconverted zones, the number one reason why backlane collection was preferred was that it was convenient and people were use to it, at 43 percent.

Asked about the 6.9 out of 10 rating for overall solid waste or garbage collection, Hemingway said he was unaware of any other community to compare Moose Jaw’s service to using the same rating system.

“You want it 10 out of 10 but it seems reasonable. You always have to try to do better,” he said.

The survey will now be referred, along with a report from the Engineering Department, to this Monday’s Executive Committee for discussion. The report was taken out of the budget until the survey results were compiled.

The final decision on whether to expand or roll back areas already converted now lies with Council. The report does mention though that if curbside is expanded it needs to be accompanied by further education and a communications strategy to allay resident’s concerns, as well as promote the benefits of conversion.

The $10,000 telephone survey and report was undertaken in response to the move to citywide curbside garbage collection, at the January 13th meeting of budget committee. The survey was conducted February 7-15 and has an error rate of plus or minus 19 times out of 20. 

The entire survey is available here:

moose jaw