Hillhurt and Sunnyside’s September 311 Service Request Overview

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311 Calgary – An Overview of Hillhurst and Sunnyside Service Requests

As part of the City of Calgary’s (CoC) commitment to information access, summary level data on the millions of 311 requests made by Calgary citizens is available to download for free from calgary.ca.

What story does the data tell for Hillhurst and Sunnyside (HS)? Here are some questions and answers specific to our community.

How Does HS Compare with Other Communities on the Number of Requests Submitted?

CoC provides a color-coded map on calgary.ca that illustrates the relative number of 311 requests made by each community. It uses seven different colour ranges and while Hillhurst and Sunnyside are reported separately, they are both in the third highest tier for the 2021 year, to date. The colour ranges don’t take population into account, so this means HS has higher per capita 311 requests because HS has average to below average populations compared to other neighborhoods.

Looking more closely at the numbers, the average annual requests for HS has been trending downwards over the last few years. This is mostly driven by Hillhurst’s numbers trending downwards after a peak in 2014. Sunnyside on the other hand peaked in 2013 due to the flood, and while numbers dipped to a low in 2016, Sunnyside’s numbers are trending upwards for the past few years.

It is difficult to interpret what this might mean exactly, as there is not enough data to conclude an answer.

Bottom line, it is better to see increasing request counts. Why? Service requests inform the City on citizen issues and can influence prioritization of city services and projects.

What Sort of Requests Do HSCA Residents Submit?

Specific details of 311 requests, such as the description or name of reporter, are not provided in the data available on calgary.ca. However, the agency that is assigned to a request and the assigned category for request is shared. This provides some good insight about the types of requests submitted by HS citizens.

The agencies and categories assigned to HS requests have evolved over the last 10 years. To understand the issues of concern this year, here is a look at the 3,700 requests made in the first half of 2021.

Top 5 Agencies Assigned to HS 311 Requests in the First Half of 2021

Rank    Top City Agency                    Percent

1          Community Standards             25%

2          Roads                                    19%

3          Building Services                    10%

4          Finance                                   9%

5          Parks                                      9%

The top agency for HS is Community Standards and the top categories under this agency are graffiti, snow/ice on sidewalk, disturbance concerns and encampment concerns. The top HS categories in roads includes signs, detour inquiries, and back lane maintenance. Building services covers various inspections for new construction and renovations. Finance covers various types of property tax and TIPP inquiries. The top HS categories in parks includes park trees, garbage in parks, and park infrastructure.

Setting the agency aside and looking solely at categories, the top concerns in Hillhurst and Sunnyside are somewhat different. Here’s a view at the top ten for both neighborhoods.

Top 5 Categories for Hillhurst 311 Requests 2021 YTD June

Rank    Hillhurst topic                         Count

1          Snow/Ice on Sidewalk              129

2          Waste Recycling Cart                118

3          Graffiti                                     94

4          TIPP Request                            79

5          Property Tax Inquiry                  70

Top 5 Categories for Sunnyside 311 Requests 2021 YTD June

Rank    Sunnyside topic                      Count

1          Graffiti                                    222

2          Property Tax Inquiry                  63

3          Detour Inquiry                          56

4          After Hours Transit Concern       51

5          TIPP Request                            49

Graffiti is the combined number one request overall for HS with Sunnyside having significantly more requests. This is likely not surprising to most residents for various reasons.

Some other observations: Hillhurst seems to have more concerns with snow on sidewalks and with waste and recycling carts than Sunnyside does. Whereas Sunnyside has more concerns with Transit, likely given the location of the CTrain Station.

What are the top categories for the city as a whole? The City as a whole has similar top 5 concerns to HS, just in a different order. Property Tax and TIPP are the top concern for the City as a whole with waste recycling carts and snow and ice on sidewalk also making it into the top 5.

Top 5 Categories – All Calgary – 311 Requests 2021 YTD June

Rank    Sunnyside topic                      Percent

1          Property Tax inquiry                 6%

2          TIPP request                            5%

3          Waste Recycling Cart Mgmt       4%

4          Inspection – Electrical               3%

5          Snow and Ice on Sidewalk        3%

How Do HS Residents Prefer to Submit Their 311 Requests?

The 311 Request system began in 2012 as primarily a call centre service (hence the “311” name), but it also launched with a web portal option. In the first year of service, HS citizens submitted over 70% of its requests by phone.

In 2013, the CoC introduced the 311 smart-phone app and while its use has grown in popularity, HS residents still have a preference of calling in requests with just under 50% of all 311 requests being made over the phone in the first half of 2021.

It’s anticipated that as the 311 smart-phone app grows in use, it will become the preferred method. The app definitely makes it very quick and easy to report issues, particularly when residents come upon a concern when they are out in the neighborhood. An added bonus, there is no wait time to submit your request like there might be on the phone.

The HSCA encourages all HS residents to submit 311 service requests by any method and thanks you for your support of the community!

About 311: 311 is a specific telephone number supported in many North American municipalities that provides access to non-emergency municipal services. In Calgary, the service is known as “311-Calgary” and is provided by the City of Calgary’s (CoC) Citizen Services division. The service has grown beyond just a 24-hour call centre and offers inquiry services through a web portal as well as through a smart phone app.

Tim Schaefer, Sunnyside Resident