Kitimat may contract independent polling company to survey residents on Northern Gateway

Kitimat staff will recommend to councillors tonight that they contract out the surveying on public opinion on the oil project.

Following-up from a January 16, 2012 motion by Kitimat Council, staff are presenting options to councillors as to how to proceed on gathering community opinion on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines project.

With the Joint Review Panel having recommended in favour of the proposed pipeline, the town is now following through in surveying residents and there are three options council willl be presented with at tonight’s regular council meeting.

The option most recommended by staff would have the town contract an independent polling firm to conduct a telephone survey. The questions would be developed by the firm but based on topics selected by the council.

The other options would be to either conduct a plebiscite — a non-binding form of a referendum — or develop a survey in-house to mail out to all households, or use an online surveying service.

Staff recommended the polling firm because, even though a home mailer is the lower cost, and a plebiscite  would be a familiar and ensure one vote per resident, they felt that using professionals to do the work would minimize staff time and would result in reliable and secure results.

And of course using an online survey could exclude residents and the results could be easily skewed.