Mustel Group Poll: City of Vancouver Resident's Views of Port and Exports

  • March 03, 2014

Mustel Group polled 500 City of Vancouver residents to determine their views with respect to Vancouver's port and specifically with respect to energy and natural resource exports. The research was conducted by a member of the Business Council of British Columbia (who wishes to be unidentified).

  • The majority of City of Vancouver residents understand the importance of Vancouver’s port to the B.C. economy, including rural communities. A total of 92% rate Vancouver’s port as ‘very’ or ‘somewhat important’ to the economy.
  • Residents are most supportive of the shipment of grain, containers, and forest products. There is also relatively strong support for export of natural gas.
  • The majority also support shipment of coal; 53% are in support, 35% are opposed, and the remaining 12% are undecided.

Mustel Group polled 500 City of Vancouver residents to determine their views with respect to Vancouver's port and specifically with respect to energy and natural resource exports. The research was conducted by a member of the Business Council of British Columbia (who wishes to be unidentified).

Executive Overview:

  • The majority of City of Vancouver residents understand the importance of Vancouver’s port to the B.C. economy, including rural communities. A total of 92% rate Vancouver’s port as ‘very’ or ‘somewhat important’ to the economy.
  • Residents are most supportive of the shipment of grain, containers, and forest products. There is also relatively strong support for export of natural gas.
  • The majority also support shipment of coal; 53% are in support, 35% are opposed, and the remaining 12% are undecided.
  • However, when presented with two opposing views, opinions are divided as to whether or not the city’s position regarding coal exports is appropriate. Men tend to be of the opinion that it is not appropriate for the city to intervene, while women tend to support the city’s position. The findings are consistent by age and areas of the city.
  • Residents were also asked if they would be more or less supportive of coal exports to certain countries. Opinions do not vary significantly but there is slightly more resistance to exports to China and India.
  • Various messages were tested to determine what information has most impact on views of coal exports. All messages tested well with the strongest being:
    • A ban on coal exports through the Port would result in job losses and economic decline in other parts of BC.
    • The passage of coal through Vancouver would be tightly regulated, and put onto ships using a covered terminal and covered loading conveyor.
    • Technology is now in place that reduces the carbon produced by coal energy plants

In summary, the public likely has limited knowledge about coal but understand that Vancouver’s port and exports are essential to our economy. Focus on messages of the economic benefits of coal for all of BC, environmental controls, and the need for coal world-wide and locally would help build support for its development as a resource and export.