Survey gives mixed signals

Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 20/99) - A survey of Yellowknife residents produced mixed signals for council to consider in determining whether the city should build two new arenas.

When 1,156 resident were asked what recreational facilities the city needed immediately, only a youth centre -- which the city last month agreed to pay $450,000 to help build -- ranked above a third sheet of indoor ice.

But only 30 per cent said the city needed a third arena immediately. Under half felt we need a new youth centre. Respondents were about evenly split about whether they wanted pool, arena and gym capacity increased or to remain the same. Just over half of the respondents said the city should build a third arena within the next five years.

A clear message those surveyed conveyed is they feel there is a need for more trails, parks and play areas; 67 per cent felt there is a need for more.

Support for a third arena was even lower among the 267 grades 6-12 students surveyed.

Combining the results of male and female youth, a third arena ranked eighth in terms of desired facilities. Thirty per cent of males wanted one and 18 per cent of females.

A new youth centre is what the surveyed youth wanted most, with the support of 55 per cent of girls and 38 per cent of boys. A climbing wall, bike trails, indoor soccer facility, teen coffee bar, more paved pathways and roller- blading rink also ranked above a new arena.

The survey revealed that what youth like to do most is hang out with one another. But during winter, male youth enjoyed the company of their computers almost as much as their friends. Sixty-six per cent of male youths ranked playing computer games and surfing the Internet as their preferred activities, compared to only 28 per cent of the females surveyed.

Copies of the report in which the survey was part of can be purchased for $25 at city hall. One copy is available for review, but not borrowing, at the Yellowknife Public Library.