Survey Questions – Introduction
The City of Mississauga is currently engaged in the process of reviewing the existing Noise Control Bylaws; the Mayor and Council have given City Staff a mandate to consult with the public, conduct background research, and propose recommendations for change.
Thus far Staff have conducted six public consultations in December 2019/ January 2020 with a number of stakeholders: individuals, Residents’ Associations, business groups, and the construction industry. The three major takeaways from the consultations were:
- Everyone wanted less, not more, noise.
- The new Noise Bylaw needed to be accompanied by meaningful enforcement which would include the measurement of decibel levels.
- Health impacts of each type of noise source needed to be included in developing the proposed recommendations.
The public consultations were followed up with an online survey containing questions which were posed without any context, leading respondents to give answers which were contradictory:
- 76.1% of respondents voted to ban loudspeaker noise, but
- 65.4% agreed to exemptions
The poor wording and ambiguity of the questions resulted in a lack of meaningful granularity in the data, or put more simply: “Garbage in, garbage out.” MIRANET has questioned the use of ambiguously worded surveys that produce poor quality data. The creation of surveys and the analysis of the resulting data is a science in and of itself, which is best left to the experts.
The three virtual consultations conducted in October 2020 were less than successful, with two of the three consultations hampered by technical glitches and administrative errors which prevented eager citizens from participating. No explanations or apologies were offered and no consultations were rescheduled.
City Staff intend to present their final report and recommendations to the Mayor and Council on November 18, 2020. We have recently learnt that they will be presenting additional recommendations on this date. This means that the public will have less than one week to review these new recommendations and provide feedback to City Staff and Council.
Throughout this entire process, democratic participation and meaningful public input has been thwarted at every turn. It appears that City Staff is no longer functioning as impartial advisers to the Mayor and Council, but merely the rubber stamp needed to enact their wishes. Taking part in consultations, filling in surveys, giving deputations to Council have all become exercises in futility. Public participation in municipal democracy has devolved into the punishment of Sisyphus, with residents struggling mightily to role a rock up a hill, only to see it come crashing down again.
MIRANET would like to hear your thoughts on the proposed Noise Control Bylaw; so over the next two weeks we will be asking for your feedback on the most ill-conceived recommendations made by City Staff. We hope to provide you with meaningful context for each of these recommendations and will use your responses to get a clear picture of what residents think about these proposed changes.