Text It Forward is a new engagement campaign launched by One Region Forward that seeks to further broaden community engagement. The campaign utilizes a SMS-based survey tool that allows citizens to text their responses to questions that will inform One Region Forward’s planning.
June 2014 – Making Best Use of Our Resources
Our region has an incredible wealth of fertile farmland, picturesque natural lands and open space, and access to one of the largest sources of fresh water on the planet.
Citizens answered questions on how they thought these resources should be developed, restored, or protected.
Question #1: Do you think Buffalo Niagara is moving in the right direction?
The majority of citizens responded that Buffalo Niagara is moving in the right direction.
Question #2: What should be the top priority for our waterfront?
A. Public access
B. Tourist amenities
A majority of citizens (54%) responded that public access was the top priority for our region’s waterfront. This is similar to what we heard at our Community Congress Mapping Workshops. About a third of respondents (37%) thought that investments that would attract tourists and residents were a priority. Several also mentioned the importance of water and habitat restoration to create a truly sustainable waterfront.
Question #3: How important is water to the region’s economy & quality of life?
A. Most important
B. Very important
C. Somewhat important
D. Not important
An overwhelming majority of citizens (95%) responded that water was most important or very important to the region’s economy and quality of life. Being situated on two of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world, citizens have an undeniable appreciate for the role that water has played in our past and, more importantly, will continue to play in our future.
Question #4: What should be the top priority for our region’s parks and greenspace?
A. Maintain & improve
B. Create new
C. Connect them better
Close to a majority of citizens (49%) responded that the top priority for our region’s parks and greenspace should be to maintain and improve what we already have. Many felt that spending additional resources on creating new parks and greenspace would come as a detriment to those we already have. Almost a third (29%) of respondents thought that current parks needed to be better connected. Some mentioned utilizing abandoned rail right-of-ways and linear connectors.
Question #5: How would you plan for the future of our region’s farmland?
A. Protect what we have
B. Develop or homes/businesses
C. Expand it
A large majority of citizens (87%) responded that our region’s farmland should either be protected from future development, or expanded into land not currently being farmed. This was reflected in our Community Congress Mapping Workshops, where farmland preservation was often a guiding principle. While current data shows that we continue to lose farmland as a region, only 7% of respondents thought farmland should be developed for homes or businesses.
Question #6: How often should the protection of our region’s natural lands be prioritized over development?
A majority of citizens (58%) who responded thought that the protection of our natural lands should always be prioritized over development. Only 2% thought that a development first approach was right for the region. Just over a third (34%) of respondents thought a more balanced approach, based on the context of the location was most appropriate.
Question #7: Name one natural resource in our region that should be restored, and/or protected for future generations and explain why.
This is an open ended question that citizens were asked to respond to by naming a specific natural resource in our region that should be restored and/or protected and then explain why.
A word cloud was generated from the citizens’ responses. The size of the words are dependent on how often they appeared as a response. Words that are the largest appeared most often. Similar to Question 3, Citizens overwhelmingly stressed the importance of water to our region, both from an economic and environment perspective.