No surprise that the outdoors play a large part in the recreational choices of residents living in and around Clayoquot Sound. However, a recent survey finds that Ahousat members, more than anyone else living on the West Coast, are active and interested in team sports.

The Clayoquot Community Survey, conducted by McAllister Opinion Research and commissioned by Ecotrust Canada, found that 50 percent of Ahousat resident said they were involved in team sports in the past year. That compares to only 14 percent in Ucluelet and 27 percent in Tofino. Ahousat’s love of sports can also be found in their media interests. Sixty-seven percent of Ahousat residents say that sports is the topic that interests them the most in the media. That’s more than twice as high as residents of Tofino (23 percent) and Ucluelet (28 percent).

The random sample survey of 303 residents has a margin of error of 5.1 percent, 19 times out of 20. Interviews were conducted with residents in Tofino, Ucluelet, Ahousat, Itatsoo, Hot Springs Cove, Esowista and Opitsat. The survey was conducted between December 2008 and March 2009.

Ecotrust Canada has been releasing results of the survey, which focuses on the region’s sustainability and liveability, in a ten-part series of articles and blog postings over the past several weeks. Ecotrust Canada’s purpose is to build the conservation economy in BC’s coastal bioregion. The organization has offices in Tofino and Vancouver, and has been working in Clayoquot Sound for more than a decade.

According to the survey, the majority of area residents (55 percent) mention walking, hiking or running as a favourite hobby. This is followed by fishing (20 percent) and surfing (19 percent).

However, there are some stark differences between groups. The most popular leisure activities among men are fishing (30 percent), boating (23 percent), and sports (21 percent), while women are most likely to mention reading (21 percent), family and friends (17 percent) and biking (11 percent).

Interestingly, there isn’t much of a gender divide in surfing: 33 percent of both young men and young women (under age 35) are interested in this increasingly popular activity. At 31 percent, Tofino residents are twice as likely to favour surfing than other area residents, making it the surf capital on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

Respondents were also asked about which topics in the media they have an interest in. Science and nature (66 percent) is the most popular, followed by politics and news (65 percent) and health (49 percent).  However, men are more likely to be interest in science, nature, politics and news than women, who are significantly more interested in health issues. First Nations show more interest in music and entertainment (52 percent), sports (49 percent), and boats and automotive topics (18 percent) than other residents.

In terms of involvement in community, the survey found that 70 percent of all residents have voted in an election in the past year. Residents of Ucluelet (82 percent) are most likely to have voted in an election, followed by Tofino residents (74 percent), Ahousat residents (61 percent) and other First Nations (41 percent).

Ahousat has the highest rate of volunteerism on the West Coast. Eighty-four percent of Ahousat residents said they volunteered in their community in the past year compared to about 68 percent in Ucluelet and Tofino. Church attendance was also far higher in Ahousat (32 percent) than Ucluelet (25 percent) and Tofino (10 percent).

The survey found significant difference in fishing activity between First Nations and other residents. About 39 percent of Tofino/Ucluelet residents said they went sports fishing in the last year and 78 percent purchased local seafood to eat. In contrast, only 25 percent of First Nations went sports fishing or purchased local seafood. The results suggest that most First Nations probably engage in traditional food fisheries.

Ecotrust Canada commissioned the Clayoquot Community Survey to gain a richer understanding of the concerns and issues of local communities regarding the region’s sustainable development. Next week, Ecotrust Canada will be releasing results about the media habits of local residents in Clayoquot Sound.


Clayoquot Community Survey
Ecotrust Canada commissioned McAllister Opinion Research to conduct a survey of Clayoquot Sound-Pacific Rim residents in late 2008/early 2009. The main purpose of the research is to gain a richer understanding of local communities to better inform our efforts and outreach in the region. The random sample survey of 303  residents has a margin of error of ±5.1%, 19 times out of 20.

Survey Contents
Click the links to read other details and results.