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Red Deer Advocate - Letters to the Editor
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Solution to city survey gaps

An open letter to Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer, city council and city manager Craig Curtis:

We all know how important it is to stay connected to Red Deer citizens.

Since the last election, I have seen an effort to include citizens in dialogue. Simply the street signs being put up informing citizens of the front garbage pickup and the budget meeting has been an improvement from years past.

I do have concerns with some of the ways we are communicating. The surveys that we hold online are extremely important, however they are easily manipulated and skewed. A person can take these surveys multiple times. Even if there are IP address protectors, IP addresses can easily be changed (or hidden), allowing a person to take the survey potentially hundreds of times. Simply put: I have near zero confidence in any city survey whether the results are aligned with my personal ideological position or not.

Here is the solution: Every year (generally) the city conducts a census and each address receives a pin. Folks can enter their census information online using that pin. Keep this pin active for the entirety of the year, and link it to every city survey for access purposes. Once access is granted, the survey can be completed anonymously. Of course, this system would not be perfect. We would have to create contingencies for folks who move to Red Deer, or from house to house, but it would be a big step up from the system we have now.

Please consider bringing forth a notice of motion that would see Red Deer secure its online survey process.

Calvin Goulet-Jones

Red Deer

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