'All-time low': Yellowknifers say homelessness and high costs driving down quality of life in city

Though most Yellowknifers think they still have a good quality of life, more people than ever think the quality of life in the N.W.T.'s capital is declining, according to a new citizen survey.

Citizen survey polled 600 residents, 59 per cent of respondents don't believe downtown is safe

Downtown Yellowknife. A survey released Monday found that nearly 60 per cent of residents in the N.W.T.'s capital do not feel the downtown is safe. (Ollie Williams/CBC)

More Yellowknifers than ever think their quality of life is declining, according to a new citizen survey.

The survey, conducted by Ipsos, found that while almost all citizens polled said they have a good or very good quality of life, almost three times more citizens found their quality of life worsened over the past three years than those who said it had improved.

"This year is actually a new all-time low," said Catherine Knaus, director at Ipsos. "It does speak to some degree of pessimism in the community around the direction that quality of life is taking."

The survey found the two biggest reasons cited by respondents for the worsened quality of life are poverty and homelessness in the city, as well as the high cost of living.

Six hundred Yellowknifers were surveyed by cellphone and landline. According to Ipsos, the margin of error for the survey is plus or minus four percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Almost three quarters of those surveyed found that downtown Yellowknife is not vibrant or exciting, and almost 59 per cent of respondents said they don't believe downtown is safe.

"We're currently in the process of trying to articulate a vision for downtown Yellowknife," said Coun. Adrian Bell. "And we can see just how far away we are from achieving that vision."

The survey also found that less than half of Yellowknife citizens believe the city is doing a good job of encouraging housing diversity.

"I think now the immediate challenge is to make sure that this valuable information ... is translated into policy direction," said Bell.