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LETTER: Cadboro Bay survey sees outside influence

Now that the results of the online “community survey” regarding the draft of the Cadboro Bay Local Area Plan are in, it is not a surprise that the ‘results,’ as elsewhere in the CRD, seem to support development and densification, given that the wording of the survey seemed to point the person filling out the survey in that general direction.

Those filling out the online survey could have been from anywhere and could have filled out the survey as many times as they wanted, and the district had promoted it online a lot.

The following figures are quoted from the Saanich website regarding the district’s promotion for community engagement in the local draft plan input process, including the online survey: Saanich had made 5,790 “impressions” on Twitter receiving 920 link clicks, 15,552 “engagements” on Facebook posts, 15,447 views of their Facebook three-second video and 32,938 “impressions” on Facebook ads.

At a total of 55,727 forms of digital ads made, clearly this was a considerable numerical overshot for a community of about 4,000 people, many of whom don’t use social media.

Providing such a wide array of blanket online ads was of course likely to garner considerable non-community feedback on the so-called “community survey” and was thus considerably likely to influence and alter the results pertaining to be from the community and thus likely affecting its very future.

In the 21st century, digital manipulation of local democratic processes is a very real concern and few eyes are sadly focused on the issue.

Sasha Izard


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