Groundbreaking research by Saint Consulting finds the majority of Canadians oppose development and are distrustful of elected officials
TORONTO, APRIL 2, 2007 – In its first national survey of Canadian attitudes toward real estate developments — the big projects such as hospitals, landfills and nuclear power plants — the Saint Index found high levels of distrust for local politicians and a fear that their often close relationship with developers makes the planning process unfair.
These are just two of the findings contained in the Saint Index, a wide-ranging survey of the attitudes of Canadians on real estate development and land use issues by the Saint Consulting Group.
The premiere Canadian edition of the Saint Index points to tough times ahead for almost any type of real estate development in Canada. Since 2006, the Saint Consulting Group has commissioned the Saint Index in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The Canadian survey results found that 3 out of 4 respondents feel their communities are just fine the way they are, or are already overdeveloped.
“That number increases to over 80% in major cities,” explains Patrick Fox, President of the Saint Consulting Group. “Eighty percent levels of opposition can spell expensive delays or even cancellation for many types of development.”
Hospitals most welcomed; Casinos most opposed
When asked about which developments they would most oppose in their communities, 83% of the respondents placed casinos at the top of their list. Levels of opposition fell below 25% when asked about hospitals and single-family homes being built in their communities. (See Graphic)
Politicians and developers distrusted
The Saint Index also uncovered that Canadians bear a high level of skepticism regarding relationships between elected officials and developers. In fact, 60% of respondents expressed concern that these perceived close relationships can compromise fairness. That number increases to as much as 70% in Calgary.
“These findings should send a warning to both politicians and developers,” says Fox.
The Saint Index also reveals that 87% of respondents believe that a political candidate’s position on community growth is an important issue to consider when casting their votes.
Background on Saint Consulting and the Saint Index©
The Saint Index© quantifies and tracks the politics of land use, spotlighting who actively opposes and supports real estate-related projects and why. It was first conducted in the US in autumn of 2005 and in the UK in April 2006. The Canadian Saint Index is based on an independent survey of 1223 Canadians and is accurate to within 3.1% points 19 times out of 20.
The Saint Consulting Group began operations in 1983 and today is the global leader in land-use political consultancy. Saint Consulting has 12 offices around the US [including its headquarters near Boston], one in the UK, and a recently opened Toronto office. Among the industries that use its services are aggregates, casinos, grocery and retail, healthcare, landfills, mixed-use developments, housing, and utilities.
The Saint Consulting Group was recently named one of Consulting Magazine’s “Seven Small Jewels for 2007.”
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