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Niagara-on-the-Lake
Wednesday, October 5, 2022
Letter: Plenty of questions about chamber’s tourism survey
Editorial.
Editorial. Supplied

Dear editor:

The Sept. 1 edition of The Lake Report contains the latest in a series of advertisements paid for by the Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce about its survey of residents done by Abacus Data in Ottawa at the end of February.

It provides this link to the survey: www.chambernotl.com/researchandresources.

I clicked on the link and found a website that jumped from one screen to another every eight seconds, making it impossible to read all the information provided.

Apparently, 300 residents were phoned and 500 were surveyed by email.

Where Abacus Data obtained the phone numbers and email addresses wasn’t stated. From information that the town provided or the chamber itself?

If the latter, that means the survey’s results were biased from the start. I’ve lived in NOTL for 18 years and know a fair number of its residents but I do not know anyone who participated in this survey.

And who is Abacus Data? A “boutique firm” in Ottawa. See abacusdata.ca.

I wonder why the chamber, which wants residents “to shop locally,” used a company in Ottawa, not one in the Niagara region.

The conclusion of the chamber’s survey includes the following points:

Tourism is seen as essential to the character and quality of life in the town. Without tourism, life in NOTL would not be what it is – a great place to live.

Residents believe that tourism is essential to both the economic and social life of the town and region.

Almost all residents believe that Niagara-on-the-Lake is a great place to live. They believe this is so BECAUSE of tourism.

These results were presented at a meeting in the Prince of Wales Hotel in May. I don’t think residents of the town should believe them until the CEO of the chamber answers the following questions:

1. Why did the chamber wait more than three months before taking out an advertisement in local papers providing a link to the survey?

2. Why does the screen move every eight seconds?

3. Why was Abacus Data in Ottawa hired and not a Niagara polling firm?

4. How much was Abacus Data paid? This is a legitimate question since the Town provides a large grant to the chamber. And therefore, it was NOTL taxpayers who helped underwrite this survey.

5) How were the 300 telephone respondents and 500 email respondents chosen? By neighbourhood or by demographics?

6) Who provided the telephone numbers and email addresses to Abacus Data?

7) Why was the survey done in the winter when many residents are away?

8) The survey respondents were not actually asked whether they thought an increase or a decrease in tourism would improve or worsen their enjoyment of the town. This conclusion was drawn for them by the chamber. Why were they not asked the question?

9) The survey question: “Did your life worsen as a result of tourism?” is strongly influenced by the decline in tourism as a result of the pandemic. Obviously, a worsening of the quality of life could have resulted from increased tourism.

I hope answers to these questions will be forthcoming soon.

Elizabeth Masson

NOTL